Peretz Orders Removal of Outposts From Judea & Samaria

Defense Minister Amir Peretz has signed an order declaring 12 unauthorized outposts throughout Judea and Samaria “illegal,” setting the stage for their removal.

Yechiel Spira and Hillel Fendel , | updated: 6:16 AM

The orders to remove the unauthorized outposts were signed by Mr. Peretz’s predecessor, former Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz, but he did not actualize the orders.

Among the outposts slated for removal are Mitzpeh Lachish south of Hevron, Givat Assaf near Beit El, Shaked Farm, Mitzpeh Yitzhar and Yitzhar South, both near Yitzhar, Givat HaRoeh near Eli, Givat HaDegel near Karnei Shomron and Hazon David near Kiryat Arba, and Maaleh Rehavam, in eastern Gush Etzion.

The people of Maaleh Rehavam have demanded an apology from the Maariv newspaper for writing that their community is illegally located on private Arab property. "This article presents us as land thieves," a letter from the town's secretary states. "If a serious investigation had been done, as could be expected from a newspaper of your level, you would have found that the neighborhood is [a part of] the town of Nokdim, is totally located on state lands, and that the residents were even allocated land for planting and grazing. The neighborhood is in the process of being approved."

Peretz has ordered IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz to prepare the plan for the removal of the neigbhorhoods, some of which have 20 or more families. The final operational orders for their removal have been left to the discretion of Central District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh.

Aides to the defense minister explain that the removal of the outposts is in line with coalition agreements, and that their destruction is "inevitable."

Security officials say the 12 communities would not be removed simultaneously, as such a move would place too large a burden on the security establishment.

In the meantime, the left-wing Peace Now organization continues to turn to the judicial system, seeking to expedite the removal of outposts. The radical group maintains that there are over 120 unauthorized Jewish residential enclaves throughout Judea and Samaria and demands that the State explain why they are not being immediately demolished.