Evacuating the Israeli settlements’ outposts or not?

Evacuating the Israeli settlements’ outposts or not?

Following the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords between the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in 1995 and specifically in the year 1996 the Israeli settlements’ outpost phenomena started and spreads throughout the occupied Palestinian territory, unofficially supported by the Israeli government and the Israeli Army.


Actually, the Era of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is known as the pioneer of the Illegal Israeli outposts, witnessed dramatically, and an unprecedented levels whereby 221 Illegal Israeli settlement’s outposts’ spreads throughout the occupied territory most of them were established between the years 2001 and the beginning of 2006 when Sharon served as the Israeli PM, and called for the Israeli settlers 'to capture the hill tops in the occupied West Bank before loosing them to Palestinians in negotiations'. See Map 1


Map 1: Distribution of the Illegal Israeli Settlement’s Outposts in the West Bank


Between Misleading & Lack of Seriousness

On September 3, 2007, the Israeli newspaper Ma’arev revealed in a report that the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, in corporation with an internal ministerial committee, is preparing for a plan to evacuate 26 Israeli outposts in the West Bank inhabited by 1,200 Israeli settlers.


The Israeli vice Premier Hayeem Ramon indicated that the committee would take about three months to decide which outposts to be dismantled from the 221 outposts existing in the occupied West Bank territory. Mr. Ramon added that the committee is seeking to reach a deal with the leaders of the Israeli settlers in the West Bank in which the Israeli Defense Ministry would evacuate and dismantle the 26 settlements and conversely legitimize many others.


Some seven Years ago, in the year 2000, when Ehud Barak served as the Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Israel, he formulated a similar agreement on the “outposts” with the leaders of the Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, according to that agreement several outpost were to be removed, some to be frozen, and others legalized, however, none of that happened, instead many others were created.


Six years later and on October 6, 2006, the former Israeli Defense Minister ‘Ameer Peretz declared that the Israeli Army is preparing to evacuate 12 settlements' outposts in the occupied territory after the Jewish holidays are over. This declaration made by the defense minister comes after an earlier declaration made by him in June 16, 2006 of a plan to evacuate what the Israeli state define as an 'Illegal' outposts in the West Bank. However, the decision to evacuate outposts was postponed on June 27 following the Gaza incident in June 25, 2006 and the capture of an Israeli soldier by the Palestinian resistance, since then, no further deliberation took place on the ground with this regard.


In March 2005, the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked former attorney Talia Sasson to organize a report on the status of established Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank territory. The report acknowledged more than 125 outposts illegal and that they were established with the indirect support of many Israeli ministries who disregarded the Israeli judicial counselor’s decision to stop all indirect financial support to these outposts.


The head of the settlements council rebuffed these allegations about the outposts saying that every single outpost established was so with the knowledge and in many cases with the assistance of the 'Israeli Civil Administration' and the Israeli Army.


Moreover, the settlement council announced its rejection to evacuate any of the outposts in the occupied Palestinian territory, also the members of the council declared their intention to build five new Israeli outposts in the West Bank in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jerusalem, and Nablus Governorates and will be called  (Giv'at 'Eteem, Giv'at 1013, Nofe Khashmona'em, Shobot 'Ami and Har Khefi) . According to the council, the construction of these new Illegal outposts will start in the 'Israeli Sokot Day' in September 30, 2007. Almost 2.5 years passed by since the 'Sasson' report was issued and still Israel has not evacuated any of the declared illegal outposts. See table 1


Table 1: Distribution of the Illegal Israeli settlements' Outposts in West Bank Governorates
(1995 up to this date)

No. of Outposts


period during which outpost was 



1995   –  2003



1996   – 2007



1996   –  2004



1996   –  2006



1996   –  2007



1998   –  2002



1996   –  2004



2001   –  2004



2001   –  2004



2001   –  2002





1999   –  2002



Source: ARIJ Data Base September 2007


To conclude;

Settlements and their Illegal Outpost were and still one of the main obstacles to the peace process since. Every Day Israel continues to violate the International Law rules and agreements signed with the Palestinian side. Ultimately, the Israeli outposts as any other Israeli activity in the occupied territory represent an explicit violation of the law regardless of how Israel wants to classify them (Illegal or legal), eventually they all must be removed.


Dismantling the settlement’s Outposts Is a first step for Israel to show its interest  in reaching a just and durable peace settlement with the Palestinians.





Prepared by
 The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ)




Categories: Settlements