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Viewpoint - November 1, 2012

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*-- Peace Now says two illegal outposts built --*

JERUSALEM - Israeli settlers have constructed two illegal outposts for the first time in seven years, Peace Now, an organization that monitors West Bank settlements, said.

A statement by the group Wednesday said the unauthorized outposts are Nahalei Tal, northwest of Ramallah in the Binyamin district, and Tzofim North, located north of Kalkilya in Samaria. Mobile homes, infrastructure, electricity, water and access roads were built at the outposts, the organization said.

"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 Defense Ministry's Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories unit, charged with monitoring building in the West Bank, agreed the outposts are illegal and said demolition orders had been issued some weeks ago, Israel Radio reported.

Dani Dayan, head of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, called the Peace Now accusations "outrageous."

Dayan told The Jerusalem Post Nahalei Tal was first built when Ehud Olmert was prime minister and said settlers had placed a hut there to protect vineyards from Palestinian attacks. Tzofim North is within the existing boundaries of the settlement Tzofim, which has an approved zoning plan, he said.

Peace Now is a non-governmental organization that promotes a two-state solution and is opposed to Israel occupying the West Bank.

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