Yair Altman
May 19, 2011 - 12:00am

Settlers are planning to erect three new outposts in the West Bank on the eve of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before the US Congress, Ynet learned on Thursday.

In addition, the Interior Ministry's planning and construction committee has approved a discussion on large-scale construction plans in Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood on the eve of Netanyahu's departure

Hundreds of members of the Hilltop Youth have completed preparations for constructing the new outposts on the night between Monday and Tuesday, during Netanyahu's scheduled speech before AIPAC.

One of the outposts is to be built between Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem, in a sensitive and highly controversial spot because it connects between Palestinian territories seen as belonging to a possible future Palestinian state.

Israel has previously begun paving roads in the area to connect between the capital and Ma'aleh Adumim, but this move was halted due to US pressure.

But members of the Hilltop Youth say they will establish a farm there as a first step to building a settlement. They say the land belongs to private owners – Jews who purchased it from Arabs in the 1980's.

The movement has rented the land from these owners, and says that the private ownership will make it very difficult for the state to evict them.

Extreme rightists plan to promote the construction by hanging posters at synagogues and settlements. "There is no difference between the land to which we returned in '48 and the land we returned to in '67. Israel is one big island," says a poster obtained by Ynet.

"The connection between Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem will constitute a connection of Jewish continuity and block the establishment of a Palestinian state in the area, cutting off the continuity from Bethlehem to Ramallah through Jerusalem."

'Zionist answer to Bibi's obsequiousness'

One of Hilltop Youth's leaders, Meir Bartler, told Ynet the construction contained a message to the government. "There is no difference between the Golan and central Israel, Akko and Jaffa, to Nablus and Hebron. The Land of Israel is one big island," he said.

MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) praised the move. "Expanding settlements and construction of outposts is the only Zionist answer to Netanyahu and the Likud Party's obsequiousness. While Bibi folds in Washington, our youth will tell him and the entire world that they have not lost hope. We will continue to build and settle despite Israel's weak leadership," he said.

Meanwhile Ynet has also learned that Jerusalem's planning and construction committee, set to hold a hearing on 1,550 housing units in the neighborhoods of Har Homa and Pisgat Ze'ev – both of which are located beyond the 1967 borders – requested permission from the Prime Minister's Office to do so, due to the sensitivity of the matter ahead of Netanyahu's visit to Washington.

The office approved the hearing, and it is scheduled to take place on the eve of Netanyahu's flight, beginning at 2 pm.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer slammed the approval of the hearing. "The prime minister is sacrificing relations with the US for the benefit of his loyalty to settlers and rightists in Jerusalem. This is not just miserable timing, but a miserable policy which endangers Israel's status in the world," he said.


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