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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Olmert discovers the outposts

It states:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking before the government on Sunday, said it was a disgrace that Israel hasn't taken action on unauthorized West Bank outposts, according to a participant in the meeting.
This is strange. Who is in charge of the government? It is like a guy who says, "It is really disgraceful the way I beat my wife [WHACK!]. Really terrible, isn't it?
Ami Isseroff
Last update - 16:21 13/01/2008       
PM: Presence of W. Bank outposts is a 'disgrace'
By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent and The Associated Press and Haaretz Service

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking before the government on Sunday, said it was a disgrace that Israel hasn't taken action on unauthorized West Bank outposts, according to a participant in the meeting.
Under the U.S.-backed road map peace plan of 2003, Israel promised to take down about two dozen of the outposts settlers erected across the West Bank in an attempt to prevent land from being ceded to the Palestinians.
A Peace Now spokesperson told Israel Radio that "since Olmert took office, not a single outpost has been dismantled. Olmert should stop acting like a commentator and start taking action against illegal outposts."
At a news conference with Olmert in Jerusalem last week, U.S. President George W. Bush said that after four years of promises, Israel ought to take action.
"Look, I mean, we've been talking about it for four years," Bush said. "The agreement was, 'Get rid of outposts, illegal outposts,' and they ought to go."
Settlers started putting up outposts across the West Bank after Israel reached its initial peace accords with the Palestinians in the early 1990s, in an effort to break up territory the Palestinians want for a future state. More than 100 outposts - some no more than a hilltop trailer, but others thriving communities of hundreds of people - were built without official authorization.
The road map obliges Israel to take down those erected after March 2001. The government maintains there are about two dozen outposts built after that date. Peace Now puts the number around 50.
Just weeks after taking office in January 2006, Olmert sent police to tear down nine unauthorized homes in the Amona outpost. But violent clashes ensued there between police and settlers, and in the two years since, he has taken no serious action against the outposts.
Right-wing members of Olmert's coalition and settlers oppose any action against the outposts, making the issue extremely sensitive at a time when the prime minister is trying to hold together his coalition and make peace with the Palestinians. Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman will meet with Olmert Monday and is expected to tell him he may resign over negotiations with the Palestinians.
Dichter: Agreements with PA should go through Kadima first
Public Security Minister Avi Dichter called on Sunday for agreements under discussion with the Palestinians to go through internal Kadima hearings before going into effect.
"An orderly discussion should be held in Kadima institutions before reaching any framework agreement with the Palestinians," Dichter told the party's ministers.
Dichter added that "it is forbidden to reach such an agreement before the implementation of stage one of the road map. We must demand that the Palestinians establish a chain of law enforcement in West Bank territory."
In additional to Israel's road map commitment to halt settlement construction and dismantle outposts, the Palestinians are required in the first stage to boost their security forces to fight terror.
Olmert said at the onset of the cabinet meeting on Sunday that U.S. President George Bush, who visited Israel and the West Bank last week, accepts that "no agreement will be implemented in the field without the fulfillment of Palestinian commitments, both in the West Bank and in Gaza."
Olmert also said that Bush said that "though there is one year left in the president's term, I think that even in his last year, he has enormous and extraordinary weight."

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