Jerusalem: Defence Minister Ehud Barak has ordered Israeli forces to demolish three buildings in a wildcat West Bank settlement outpost within 45 days, media and his office said on Sunday.
The move comes after the state told a court on Friday it would remove the buildings, which are part of the Migron settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, but are built on private Palestinian land, the Haaretz daily reported. Barak’s office confirmed the report.
“The position of the defence minister, in accord with the prime minister, is that illegal construction on private Palestinian land must be prevented and such building will be destroyed,” his office said in an statement.
“This obviously applies to Migron too.” The Israeli government has said it is committed to removing settlements on private Palestinian land, but the Palestinians and much of the international community consider all settlements built in the West Bank to be illegal.
Israel only considers those settlements built without government approval to be illegal, and of that category has said it will remove only buildings that are on private Palestinian land.
Israeli human rights group Yesh Din has filed a series of petitions on behalf of Palestinians seeking to force the Israeli government to remove outposts they claim stand on their private land.
Under the 2003 international “roadmap” peace plan, Israel pledged to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001 and a government commission later determined there were 26 such wildcat settlements in the West Bank.
Watchdog groups number dozens of such unauthorised outposts.
Successive prime ministers have made commitments to remove them but, despite strong US pressure, they have not been dismantled.