For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA: In a live interview broadcast on Israel Radio's noon news magazine, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon explained that the "unapproved" outposts are not "illegal" outposts but instead mostly communities that received many approvals from the Israeli authorities (and were even hooked up to utilities, mortgages provided, etc.) and Israel should explain to the Americans that they are "legal" and that any missing paperwork be completed.
It should be noted that a reading of the exchange of letters between Israel and the United States finds that Israel did not commit to physically remove the "unapproved" outposts but instead end the existence of "unapproved" outposts and this can be achieved by changing their status to "approved". This is not a new concept - negotiations between DM Barak and communities always were on the basis that the status of some outposts would be changed to "approved" and thus removed from the list.
Ya'alon also told Israel Radio that he would support considering the repopulation of Chomesh - one of the communities evacuated in Samaria at the time Israel retreated from the Gaza Strip.
As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was in the United States Monday ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama which would likely focus on Israel's policy in the settlements, several senior government ministers toured outposts in Samaria in an expression of solidarity with residents there.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), Science Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi), Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (both Likud) toured the outposts.
"These settlements were established by Israeli governments and approved by them," Yishai said.
He added that "the people of Israel should know this settlement is legal. If someone thinks otherwise and plans to evacuate them, it will have to be approved by the government. You cannot just evacuate people from their homes without due process."
The United States has long insisted that Israel halt all growth in the settlements and evacuate illegal outposts, and Mubarak is expected to insist on that issue during his meeting with Obama.
Accompanying the ministers were Ze'ev Hever, chairman of the Amana movement, Pinchas Wallerstein, director-general of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip and Gershon Messika, head of the Samaria Local Council. Hever gave the ministers a historic outline of the areas they toured.
The visit follows Defense Minister Ehud Braak's decision to recruit 20 additional inspectors for the Civil Administration's inspection unit, which already employs 40 people. The decision comes as a preparation for demolishing illegal buildings and evacuating outposts and it is expected to make it more difficult for settlers to build additional housing units without obtaining a permit.
While the unit monitors both Jewish and Palestinian illegal buildings, very few demolition orders are issued to illegal Palestinian buildings. .
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"