BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two illegal settler outposts have been recently established in the West Bank, representing the first such developments since 2005, Peace Now announced Wednesday.
Foundations for Nahalei Tal, north of Ramallah, and Tzofim North, in Qalqiliya, have been built over the last few months and the outposts now contain mobile homes, electricity, water, roads and infrastructure, the Israeli peace group said.
"As opposed to the sporadic outposts that are created by the hill-top youth and evacuated every few weeks by the security forces, it is evident that the two new outposts are highly supported by the authorities," Peace Now said.
Nahalei Tal contains eight mobile homes and Tzofim North has five, housing mainly families, Lior Amihai of Peace Now told Ma'an.
It is the first time since 2005 that such established outposts have been allowed to develop, Amihai added.
The outpost of Tzofim North is built in an area north of the Tzofim settlement, where there were authorized Israeli building plans for 1,200 housing units.
However, on Sept. 9, 2009, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that the rout of the separation barrier built north of Tzofim settlement was illegal, and was built for the purpose of enabling the expansion of the settlement and not due to security reasoning or current building structures.
According to the ruling, the Israeli Ministry of Defense was due to start repositioning the wall in the coming months. The establishment of Tzofim North outpost will prevent the rerouting of the wall, unless it is removed.
"After the government rewarded the lawbreakers that built on private Palestinian lands in Migron and the Ulpana with alternative homes and other benefits, the government continues to make a mockery of the rule of law and to allow a radical minority to establish new outposts, which create facts on the ground that harm the possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians," Peace Now said.
The United Nations deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Israel disputes this and distinguishes between about 120 settlements it has sanctioned and about 100 outposts erected by settlers without authorization.
About 500,000 Israeli settlers live on occupied Palestinian land.