Plans to Regularize Outposts: The Mechanism to Take Over 100s of Dunams from Palestinians

The proposal for a government decision to establish a mechanism for regularizing outposts, published yesterday, reveals that the government’s plan is not only to retroactively legalize illegal construction, but it is mainly intended to establish a complete mechanism for taking over additional Palestinian land.

Peace Now: “The proposed resolution awards a prize for systematic delinquency and gives the green light for the continued takeover of Palestinian land in a way that would never have been considered legal within Israel proper. Beyond the value and moral damage that the decision produces, it promotes the de facto annexation of the West Bank, without public debate and against the wishes of most Israeli citizens who breathed a sigh of relief with the cancellation of the annexation plans. The fact that the government found it appropriate to allocate tens of millions of shekels for the move, precisely in the midst of an economic crisis, also shows how flawed and distorted its priorities are, as well as its contempt for the electorate. It can still be stopped. We hope that the government will show responsibility and avoid the move. ”

Main points of the proposed resolution

Establishment of a mechanism for taking over land – The proposed resolution includes the recruit of 17 workers who will be involved in the preparation of the legal acrobatics that will enable Palestinian land in outposts to be declared as “state land”: 5 real estate coordinators, 3 legal advisers, 2 real estate department workers, 5 planning bureau workers and two coordinators.

The intention is to implement the legal ideas previously proposed by the Regularization team (Zandberg Committee) and the Attorney General, which change the rules of the game and allow for the expropriation of private Palestinian land.

Almost all the outposts on the regularization list are situated on private land, in full or in part – Among the outposts, there are those on private land, on a combination of private land and state lands, or the road to them passes through private land, on declared state lands that have not been repaired by “Blue Line team,” and other real estate issues.

The list includes almost no outposts on “state lands”, or those that have already begun a process of regularization, such as: Mitzpe Dani, Hanekudah, Mevohot Yericho, Ma’ale Hagit, Carmei Doron, Pnei Kedem and more. The list does not include farm outposts, perhaps because the procedure for regularizing them is simpler.

Potential for financing settler organizations – the proposed resolution also includes the allocation of NIS 20 million for “outsourcing” operations. It is possible that the intention is to hire the services of settler organizations (as was done recently with the decision to step up the fight against the Palestinian presence in Area C). It may also be a budget earmarked for external experts or aerial photographs.

Well over NIS 44 million – in addition to the NIS 20 million earmarked for “outsourcing”, the proposal talks about allocating NIS 15 million for planning, NIS 4 million for Civil Administration expenses, and NIS 5 million for planning for the Palestinians. Furthermore, additional few more millions are required for 17 salaries for various officials, as well as 11 salaries for security coordinators, vehicles and ancillary equipment for the outposts that will be regularized as new settlements.

Lip service for planning for Palestinians – out of about 800 words in the draft resolution, 45 words are dedicated to the promise of planning for Palestinians in Area C. This includes an allocation of NIS 5 million to the Civil Administration for this purpose.

There is no breakdown of the mechanism of action, no list of sites to plan, nor even an indication of what purposes the money will be allocated to. It is clear that this line was added for legal reasons to try to evade the horror of international law on the pretext that Israel is also planning to build for its occupied population. It should be noted that even a year and a half ago, in July 2019, the Cabinet decided to approve 700 housing units for Palestinians in Area C (apparently following the international audit of wholesale demolition in Wadi Hummus), but since then a total of 6 building permits for Palestinians have been approved. Additional approvals for Palestinians included a few permits for agriculture and industry, along with the promotion of specific plans for a few more housing units, as well as the approval of a plan for the legalization and expansion of the village of a-Tuwana and of a small part of the Zif village in the southern Hebron Mountains.

Outposts as “neighborhoods” and as new settlements – The list of outposts intended for regularization in the proposed resolution is divided into 31 outposts intended to be qualified as a “neighborhood” of an existing settlement, in order to avoid criticism of the establishment of a new official settlement, and 12 more outposts to be legalized in 11 new independent official settlements.

The following is the list of outposts designated for legalization:

Appendix A (Approval as “Neighborhoods” of Existing Settlements)

1. Bnei Adam
2. Palgei Mayim
3. Nof Harim
4. Tkoa D
5. Gvaot Olam
6. Avery’s Farm
7. Givat Hatayas
8. Alumot Farm
9. Mitzpe Yitzhar
10. Shalhevet West
11. Bracha B
12. Ramat Gilad
13. Maon farm
14. Neve Shir
15. Givat Hachish
16. Bat Ayin West
17. Tzur Shalom
18. Lehavat Yitzhar
19. Esh Kodesh
20. Kida
21. Ahiya
22. Har Hemed
23. Mitzpe Jericho North
24. Nofei Prat West (Givat Hahod)
25. Alonei Shilo
26. Negohot West
27. Mitzpe Yair
28. Maoz Zvi
29. Yair Farm
30. Nofei Nehemiah
31. Ma’ale Rehavam

Appendix B (Approval as New Settlements)

1. Ovnat
2. Kfar Gadi
3. Mitzpe Dragot
4. Tel Zion
5. Asael
6. Sde Boaz
7. Kedem Arava
8. Beit Hogla
9. Avigayil
10. Givat Haroeh + Givat Harel
11. Arnon Hill