Israel panel backs legalizing West Bank outposts
Jerusalem: A government-appointed committee is recommending that Israel legalize dozens of unauthorised West Bank settlement outposts.
Committee member Alan Baker says the panel believes Israel has the right to settle the West Bank because the territory is not occupied.
The international community does not accept that view and says settlements hinder peacemaking.
Baker said today the outposts were not authorized because government officials froze approvals under international pressure. He said the panel thinks the approval process should be completed.
Baker says the committee concluded the West Bank is not occupied because it has no sovereign power.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in 1967. Jordan had annexed it in 1948 in a move not recognised by most of the international community, but renounced all claims to the territory in 1988.