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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a report by a government-appointed panel that concluded that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are legal will be studied by a committee of Cabinet ministers.
Netanyahu appointed the committee in January to examine the status of unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank as he struggles to defuse political tensions over the outposts, which are backed by some factions in his coalition and within his Likud party. The committee concluded that outposts should be granted official status whenever possible and that building in the West Bank was legal.
“This report relates to the legality and legitimacy of settlements in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said at a briefing in Jerusalem today broadcast on Army Radio, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.
The United Nations and other international bodies have said Israeli settlements in the West Bank violate international law against construction on occupied territory. The U.S. has asked Israel to freeze such construction and the Palestinian Authority has said it will not negotiate directly with Netanyahu’s government unless it does so.
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