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Return of the Outpost Method

32 new unauthorized settlements under the Netanyahu government

A truck converted into permanent living quarters in Negohot Farm outpost, 24 October 2018

A truck converted into permanent living quarters in Negohot Farm outpost, 24 October 2018

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Summary

Quietly, far from public attention, facts on the ground are being created that are changing Israel’s political position in the West Bank, without official decisions and in defiance of the law. Settlement organizations are establishing new outposts, or unauthorized settlements, with the direct assistance of the authorities and often financed by public funds. The government, for its part, encourages such construction by promising support and working to legalize these outposts, while refraining from enforcing the law against them.

  • Since 2012, 32 new outposts have been established, the majority of which after President Trump was elected. All of the new outposts (except one) are located deep inside the West Bank, in areas that Israel will likely have to evacuate within the framework of a permanent agreement.
  • 21 of the outposts are agricultural farms, which take over large areas for pasturing and cultivation, while their settlers work to remove Palestinian shepherds and farmers from the vicinity.
  • Around some of the new outposts there is an increase in violence and attacks against Palestinians.
  • The outposts are established in an organized fashion with the involvement of the local settlement authorities, Amana and the Settlement Division.
  • At the same time, the government is working to retroactively legalize existing outposts. To date, 15 outposts have been legalized (“regularized”) as independent settlements or “neighborhoods” in existing settlements. At least 35 additional outposts are undergoing the legalization process.
  • One of the outposts established in 2012, Kerem Re’im, has already been legalized, thus becoming an official settlement with nearly 70 families living in dozens of permanent homes.

* Significant parts of the information in this report were first exposed by Dror Etkes of www.keremnavot.org

Peace Now: The Netanyahu government has established dozens of new settlement outposts quietly, without any public debate, in order to take over more territory and prevent the two-state solution. This comes despite talk of regulating the legal status of the more established outposts, in part to create a semblance of law enforcement in the West Bank. When the government and Knesset declare that they will do anything to legalize any unauthorized construction by settlers and even steal private land, settlers see this correctly as an incentive to build more outposts. This outpost method has consequently become a choice tactic in the process of de facto annexation of the West Bank, and it is leading us to a permanent single undemocratic state.

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Out of 126 outposts established: 2 outposts were evicted (Migron and Amona); 15 outposts were legalized (three as independent settlements and 12 as "neighborhoods" of existing settlements); at least 35 outposts are in the process of being legalized. The outposts phenomenon started mainly under Netanyahu as Prime Minister in 1996, and it was stopped in 2005. In 2012 the government of Netanyahu started to established illegal outposts again.