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Bibi Sets Up Panel To Legalize Illegal Outposts

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that he would submit the issue of sanctioning three West Bank outposts to a specially formed panel, despite the fact that he was expected to bring their recognition to the approval of the cabinet.

Netanyahu’s comments came after, earlier this month, the premier informed his ministers that, following the recommendation of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, he would submit to the cabinet “the necessary permits for providing for the status of the communities of Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim.”

In addition, during last week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said that he would bring the settlements’ municipal construction plan to the government’s approval.

However, instead of bringing the outposts to the cabinet’s approval, Netanyahu speaking in a the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, said that he intended to regulate the status of Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim through a panel that would work to recognize settlements built on state land or through aid of any kind from the state.

The panel will be comprised of Netanyahu himself, Barak, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and Minister Benny Begin, and will be authorized to reach a decision on the matter.

Netanyahu’s announcement came amid a tense debate in the government over the future of the Ulpana neighborhood of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, which is slated for demolition in May.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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