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2 Illegal Outposts Set Up in West Bank

Israeli settlers have set up two new unauthorised outposts in the occupied West Bank, the anti-settlement Peace Now group said on Wednesday.

Hagit Ofran, who monitors settlement activity for Peace Now, said about eight prefabricated homes were placed near the settlement of Tzofim and another five outside the settlement of Talmon.

She said the two new sites were connected to power and water lines serving the nearby settlements, a departure from previous cases in which outposts erected without Israeli government permission have been self-sustaining.

An Israeli Defence Ministry official said demolition orders had been issued against the dozen or so temporary structures at the two locations. He declined to say when they might be removed.

The United Nations deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Israel captured the territory in a 1967 war and Palestinians seek to make the West Bank part of a future state that includes the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Palestinians say settlements would deny them a viable country. Israel cites historical and Biblical links to the West Bank and Jerusalem and says the future of settlements should be decided in peace talks.

Some 311,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.

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