JERUSALEM (AP) – An inquiry into the establishment of unauthorized West Bank settlement outposts found widespread complicity of successive Israeli governments and recommended Wednesday that prosecutors consider investigations some of those involved. The government-sponsored study was conducted by former state prosecutor Talia Sasson, who presented her findings at a news conference Wednesday. Sasson said ”drastic steps” are needed to remedy the situation and safeguard Israel’s democracy.
Israel’s Cabinet is to discuss the report Sunday. The study described the secret cooperation of various ministries and official institutions in channeling money to the outposts, which settlers began setting up more than a decade ago to break up the Palestinian areas and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. Sasson said the Housing Ministry, for example, was actively involved in setting up outposts. She said the ministry supplied more than 400 mobile homes for outposts and that the ministry did not check who owned the land on which the enclaves were set up.
”Some of the outposts, built by the Housing Ministry, were unfortunately built on privately owned Palestinian land,” she said. She also said the ministry had created a budget for ”various developments” amounting to $4 million in 2000 and $8 million in 2001 and that some of that money went to outposts.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had repeatedly promised the United States to dismantle the more than 100 outposts, one of Israel ‘s first obligations under the internationally backed ”road map” peace plan. However, since accepting the road map in 2003, Israel has only removed a few outposts, citing legal difficulties.