Jerusalem: Defence Minister Ehud Barak
has ordered Israeli forces to demolish three buildings in a
wildcat West Bank settlement outpost within 45 days, media and
his office said on Sunday.
The move comes after the state told a court on Friday
it would remove the buildings, which are part of the Migron
settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, but are built on
private Palestinian land, the Haaretz daily reported. Barak's
office confirmed the report.
"The position of the defence minister, in accord with
the prime minister, is that illegal construction on private
Palestinian land must be prevented and such building will be
destroyed," his office said in an statement.
"This obviously applies to Migron too."
The Israeli government has said it is committed to
removing settlements on private Palestinian land, but the
Palestinians and much of the international community consider
all settlements built in the West Bank to be illegal.
Israel only considers those settlements built without
government approval to be illegal, and of that category has
said it will remove only buildings that are on private
Israeli human rights group Yesh Din has filed a series
of petitions on behalf of Palestinians seeking to force the
Israeli government to remove outposts they claim stand on
their private land.
Under the 2003 international "roadmap" peace plan,
Israel pledged to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001
and a government commission later determined there were 26
such wildcat settlements in the West Bank.
Watchdog groups number dozens of such unauthorised
Successive prime ministers have made commitments to
remove them but, despite strong US pressure, they have not
First Published: Sunday, June 12, 2011, 23:39