The Israeli prime minister's office yesterday ordered that 12 unauthorised settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank be connected to the state's power grid, reported the Times of Israel.
There are more than 200 settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory, including at least 100 so-called outposts. Under international law, all settlements are illegal.
In a letter to the defence ministry's adviser on settlement affairs Avi Roeh, the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, Ronen Peretz, explained the decision on the basis that the outposts in question were "established many years ago on [what is considered] state land".
Peretz also admitted that the outposts were established "with the government's encouragement", an explicit admission of what Palestinians and settler monitors have long maintained.
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The head of the prime minister's office also noted that the government is in the process of retroactively authorising dozens of outposts across the occupied West Bank.
The outposts listed in Peretz's letter were "Nofei Nehemiah, Havat Yair, Hilltop 851, Maoz Zvi and Shaharit in the northern West Bank; Pnei Kedem, Tekoa D, Esh Kodesh and Achiya in the central West Bank; and Asahel in the southern West Bank", the Times of Israel reported.
David Elhayani, who chairs the so-called Yesha Council umbrella group of settler mayors, thanked Netanyahu and called the move "another step toward the legalization of all Israeli settlement" in the occupied West Bank.
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Yossi Dagan, chair of Samaria Regional Council, also praised the development, but also "called on the prime minister to not forget the dozens of remaining outposts which remain without a stable source of power, such as Havat Gilad."
"The cabinet voted to legalize the northern West Bank wildcat community last year," said the report, "but that process has yet to be finalised, and the town remains disconnected from the power grid."