Last Update: 01/07/2004 07:24
Israel gives U.S. list of unauthorized outposts
By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
Israel has given the U.S. administration a list of 28 unauthorized settler
outposts in the West Bank, after a six-week delay.
The list presented by the defense minister's advisor, Baruch Spiegel, to
U.S. Ambassador Dan Kurtzer on Tuesday consists of outposts erected since
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon assumed office in March 2001.
According to the list, Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz ordered the
evacuation of 12 outposts, of which seven have been removed while some of
the remaining 16 outposts are in the process of being approved and planned.
The road map calls on Israel to remove outposts built during Sharon's term,
and Sharon declared at the Aqaba summit in June 2003 that the government
would begin the evacuation.
During Sharon's visit to Washington on April 14, his bureau chief Dov
Weisglass undertook to submit to the administration "within 30 days" the
list of unauthorized outposts.
Spiegel and Kurtzer also discussed freezing the construction in the
settlements. Israel promised the U.S. that the construction would proceed
only within existing areas, and agreed to hold talks with the Americans to
determine the "construction line" with aerial photos.
Diplomatic sources said Kurtzer and Spiegel - who left Wednesday for
Britain and the U.S. - agreed that at this stage they would only discuss
freezing the construction in the isolated settlements and not in the large
settlement blocs near the Green Line. This means building may continue in
the areas earmarked for annexation to Israel in a future settlement.
An American source denied any such agreement.
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is to leave for the U.S. Thursday night, and
will meet National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State
Colin Powell tomorrow. Shalom will discuss steps to promote the
disengagement plan and the possible Palestinian leaders capable of handling
the security in Gaza - Mohammed Dahlan or the interior minister-designate,
Tayeb Abed Al-Rahim.
Shalom will also discuss with his hosts the Egyptian proposal to convene
the "small quartet" consisting of Israel, the U.S., Egypt, and the
Palestinian Authority in a meeting of foreign ministers in Washington in
October. He will also deal with the Iranian nuclear threat, following
Teheran's declared intention of manufacturing centrifuges to produce