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Washington rejects Israel's list of illegal outposts

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  • Joseph M. Hochstein
    Haaretz Last Update: 01/11/2004 08:48 Washington rejects Israel s list of illegal outposts By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 1, 2004
      Haaretz
      Last Update: 01/11/2004 08:48
      Washington rejects Israel's list of illegal outposts
      By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
      http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=495881

      The United States administration rejected on Sunday the list of
      unauthorized outposts in the West Bank presented by the Defense Ministry
      four months ago, calling it unsatisfactory.

      Israel had listed 23 outposts established since Sharon's government
      assumed office in March 2001. The Americans believe the number of
      outposts built during that period is much higher.

      Israel and the U.S. are now waiting for the report by Attorney Talia
      Sasson and the defense minister's advisor, Baruch Spiegel, on the ways
      outposts were set up and the legal means to get rid of them. The report,
      which will be presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the next few
      weeks, is expected to cause Israel a great deal of embarrassment, as it
      exposes the ways in which cabinet ministries and local authorities
      helped large-scale activities of illegal construction.

      The Sasson report is also expected to present a clearer picture of the
      number of outposts as a basis for continued negotiations with the U.S.
      Evacuating unauthorized outposts that popped up during the Sharon period
      is one of the four commitments Sharon made to U.S. President George Bush
      in the letter of his former bureau chief Dov Weisglass to the White
      House's National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on April 14.

      Israel has also undertaken to mark the boundaries of each settlement,
      beyond which construction would be prohibited, to remove roadblocks and
      movement obstructions from the roads in the territories and to revoke
      seizures on Palestinian Authority funds that were confiscated by Israeli
      courts.

      Since April the White House has demanded and received more than 20
      follow-up reports from the American embassy in Tel Aviv. According to
      Washington, Israel has totally failed to keep its promises to demarcate
      the settlements and evacuate the outposts, but has removed roadblocks
      and obstructions and made efforts to intervene to release PA funds.

      Israel promised the U.S. in May 2003 that the building in the
      settlements would continue only within their existing construction
      lines. The promise followed the Americans' demand not to take over any
      more lands in the West Bank for building purposes in order to leave land
      reserves for a future Palestinian state.

      Limiting construction to the existing built areas was intended to enable
      expansion upward to accommodate the settlements' natural growth, but not
      widthwise in a way that could encroach on Palestinian land. Advisor
      Spiegel started talks with U.S. Ambassador in Israel Dan Kurtzer to
      demarcate the building in each settlement.

      Israel suggested putting off dealing with the large settlement blocs and
      concentrating solely on the isolated settlements.

      Israeli sources said an understanding was reached, but the Americans
      strongly deny this. A few weeks ago the Spiegel-Kurtzer talks
      stalemated, and the administration postponed sending to Israel a team of
      technical experts to work with the Defense Ministry on demarcating the
      settlements' boundaries.

      Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview to Egyptian
      television, which was quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday, "we're
      working with the Israelis to define what a settlement is and what the
      difference is between natural growth and expansion, and is natural
      growth something that is consistent with the Israelis' commitments to
      us."

      The Washington Post said Powell's statement appears to be the first
      official American acknowledgment that the U.S. is prepared to allow
      construction in the settlements in certain conditions.
    • MEW
      Washington rejects Israel s list of illegal outposts By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent 1 November 2004
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 1, 2004
        Washington rejects Israel's list of illegal outposts
        By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent 1 November 2004
        www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=495881

        The United States administration rejected on Sunday the list of
        unauthorized
        outposts in the West Bank presented by the Defense Ministry four months
        ago,
        calling it unsatisfactory.

        Israel had listed 23 outposts established since Sharon's government assumed
        office in March 2001. The Americans believe the number of outposts built
        during that period is much higher.

        Israel and the U.S. are now waiting for the report by Attorney Talia Sasson
        and the defense minister's advisor, Baruch Spiegel, on the ways outposts
        were set up and the legal means to get rid of them. The report, which will
        be presented to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the next few weeks, is
        expected to cause Israel a great deal of embarrassment, as it exposes the
        ways in which cabinet ministries and local authorities helped large-scale
        activities of illegal construction.

        The Sasson report is also expected to present a clearer picture of the
        number of outposts as a basis for continued negotiations with the U.S.
        Evacuating unauthorized outposts that popped up during the Sharon period is
        one of the four commitments Sharon made to U.S. President George Bush in
        the
        letter of his former bureau chief Dov Weisglass to the White House's
        National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice on April 14.

        Israel has also undertaken to mark the boundaries of each settlement,
        beyond
        which construction would be prohibited, to remove roadblocks and movement
        obstructions from the roads in the territories and to revoke seizures on
        Palestinian Authority funds that were confiscated by Israeli courts.

        Since April the White House has demanded and received more than 20
        follow-up
        reports from the American embassy in Tel Aviv. According to Washington,
        Israel has totally failed to keep its promises to demarcate the settlements
        and evacuate the outposts, but has removed roadblocks and obstructions and
        made efforts to intervene to release PA funds.

        Israel promised the U.S. in May 2003 that the building in the settlements
        would continue only within their existing construction lines. The promise
        followed the Americans' demand not to take over any more lands in the West
        Bank for building purposes in order to leave land reserves for a future
        Palestinian state.

        Limiting construction to the existing built areas was intended to enable
        expansion upward to accommodate the settlements' natural growth, but not
        widthwise in a way that could encroach on Palestinian land. Advisor Spiegel
        started talks with U.S. Ambassador in Israel Dan Kurtzer to demarcate the
        building in each settlement.

        Israel suggested putting off dealing with the large settlement blocs and
        concentrating solely on the isolated settlements.

        Israeli sources said an understanding was reached, but the Americans
        strongly deny this. A few weeks ago the Spiegel-Kurtzer talks stalemated,
        and the administration postponed sending to Israel a team of technical
        experts to work with the Defense Ministry on demarcating the settlements'
        boundaries.

        Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview to Egyptian
        television,
        which was quoted in the Washington Post on Sunday, "we're working with the
        Israelis to define what a settlement is and what the difference is between
        natural growth and expansion, and is natural growth something that is
        consistent with the Israelis' commitments to us."

        The Washington Post said Powell's statement appears to be the first
        official
        American acknowledgment that the U.S. is prepared to allow construction in
        the settlements in certain conditions.
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