March 8, 2011 - 1:00am

The Israeli government is committed to removing illegal outposts on private Palestinian land in the West Bank by the end of 2011, a government official told Xinhua on Monday.

The decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet followed a petition filed by the Israeli left-wing NGO Peace Now to the High Court, demanding the razing of six controversial outposts, including locales known as Givat Asaf, Mitzpe Yitzhar and Mitzpeh Lachish.

Though the decision was made several weeks ago, the timetable for implementing it was only revealed on Monday in the State Attorney's Office official response to the petition, local news service Ynet reported.

According to the petition filed by Peace Now, 1,569 illegal structures were located in Israeli settlements and outposts over the past three years, but only 30 percent were demolished.

The state presented data of its own, according to which 111 of 646 "illegal" Palestinian structures discovered in 2008 were destroyed, in comparison to 105 out of 293 similar Israeli structures in that same year.

The state also noted that the number of demolition orders implemented at Jewish settlements in the West Bank since 2009 far exceeds those that took place in Palestinian communities, though the number of illegal structures found in the latter is significantly higher.


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