The Israeli government is looking into legalizing around 7,000 West Bank houses that could be demolished if not legalized. The legalization plan was issued by an inter-ministerial team of jurists, which was founded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an effort to turn the outposts into legal settlements – which will widen the Israeli presence in the West Bank.

West Bank settlement

West Bank settlement Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash 90

The Israeli government is working on a plan to legalize around 7,000 houses in the West Bank. If executed, the plan will change the status of the communities in which the houses are located from illegal outposts to legal West Bank settlements. These outposts could be demolished if their status is not changed.

The plan was formulated by an inter-ministerial team of jurists headed by Jerusalem District Court Judge Haya Zandberg. The team published a 200-page report on Thursday and submitted it for the review of Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel. The buildings were built in recent years on lands that were initially believed to be approved for construction, but a reexamination of their status found that some of them are not.

The inter-ministerial team was founded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in accordance with a coalition agreement made with Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the HaBayit HaYehudi party.

The report was published amid speculations regarding the possible concessions Israel might have to make if it agrees to US President Donald Trump’s forthcoming peace plan with the Palestinians. As JOL reported yesterday, the US administration informed Liberman that one of the plan’s demands is that Israel withdraw from four Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, Shuafat, Jabel Mukaber, Isawiya and Abu-Dis, so that the Palestinian Authority can assume control over them, according to a Maariv report.