PM appoints judge to examine outpost legalization

Netanyahu announces establishment of team meant to find ways to legalize West Bank outposts, headed by Judge Edmond Levy. Outpost bill to be brought for vote on Wednesday 
Attila Somfalvi

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday announced that Judge Edmond Levy will head a team that will study the outpost issue. The team is meant to seek ways to retroactively legalize outposts in the West Bank.



During a Likud ministers meeting, Minister Gilad Erdan asked for freedom to vote independently on the bill, which prompted a debate on the issue.


While Knesset members are allowed freedom of vote on the bill, cabinet ministers are obligated to vote against it as the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs is opposing the proposal.


The bill, which will be brought for a vote on Wednesday, stipulates that if a West bank landowner failed to approach a court four years since the establishment of a residential neighborhood on his land, the buildings will not be cleared.


It is being endorsed by 20 MKs from the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas, Habayit Hayehudi, the National Union and United Torah Judaism. The bill addresses construction in neighborhoods with at least 20 housing units.


It stipulates that the court can order financial compensation or alternative land to the claimant if he can prove he owns the land.


Likud ministers Michael Eitan, Dan Meridor and Benny Begin harshly criticized the bill two weeks ago.


During Sunday’s meeting, Netanyahu also addressed talks with the Palestinians and expressed hope they will not abandon negotiations. „The signs aren’t very good but I hope they come to their senses and we can move forward,” he said.


The prime minister also mentioned he congratulated the leaders of France, Britain and Germany last week for the steps Europe took against Iran. He is slated to meet UN chief Ban Ki-moon in Israel later this week.


Yair Altman contributed to this report