In reality, outposts are new settlements. Today, there are more than 100 outposts throughout the West Bank. Around 50 were established after March 2001 (According to the Road Map, Israel is committed to dismantling all of the outposts established after February 2001). Just like the official settlements at the time, these outposts were established with the goal of attaining two different objectives, which, basically, are both sides of the same coin: on the one hand, to create a continuity of Israeli presence by taking over as much land as possible and on the other, creating a barrier between the various Palestinian population centers. That is to say: forestalling the possibility of creating a Palestinian region that can be self-sufficient.
Over the years, Peace Now has repeatedly warned that the settlers, with the massive assistance of government officials who are clearly operating against the law, are engaged in expanding and establishing a web of settlements in the occupied territories. This activity, which involves establishing new settlements “out of thin air” under the guise of constructing new neighborhoods in existing settlements, educational institutions, acclimatization farms and dummy antennas, reached its peak during two separate periods: the first was between 1997-1999, while the second occurred during 2001-2002.
Despite the fact that this phenomenon significantly changed the map of the West Bank, it only received much deserved public attention over the past few years. Media attention was able to bring public pressure to such a peak that Prime Minister Sharon was forced to appoint Attorney Talia Sasson to examine the scope of the phenomenon and the involvement of various government officials in this phenomenon. In March 2005, Talia Sasson submitted her conclusions in a report containing over 300 pages.
According to the Road Map, Israel is committed to dismantling all of the outposts established after February 2001.
To date, Peace Now has counted approximately 50 outposts which, according to this criterion, should have already been dismantled and disbanded over two years ago. For a list of the outposts in English please click here.
In order to read more about outposts, see the article in English by Dror Etkes, head of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch project, click here.