The state on Thursday filed an update with the High Court that said it was considering conferring legal status on four new communities (known as “outposts”) in Judea and Samaria. The update was filed in response to a petition by Peace Now demanding the dismantling of six communities and on which the four appear.
The four communities which the state said it was considering “upgrading” to legal status were Givat Assaf, Givat Haroeh, Maale Rekhavam, and Mitzpe Lakhish.
Three of the communities - Givat Haroeh, Maale Rekhavam, and Mitzpe Lakhish – are located on state-owned land, the update said, so there was no legal barrier to conferring legal status on them. Some parts of Givat Assaf are located on privately owned land, but a process to purchase the land is currently underway, it said.
Earlier this year, the IDF demolished nine structures in Maale Rekhavam. Peace Now first filed the petition demanding demolition of the communities in 2007.
In a statement, Peace Now said that the state's decision to examine legalizing the communities is “a slap in the face to the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. Instead of defending the interests of the state, the Defense Minister is defending the 'hilltop youth' settler activists and is attempting to legalize outposts that were scheduled for demolition. The entire country will pay the economic and diplomatic price,” it said.