Israel's Liberman slams wildcat West Bank settlements
AFP Photo/Georges Gobet
Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced unauthorized Jewish outposts in the West Bank on Tuesday, a day after the prime minister vowed not to uproot settlements in the territory.
Such unauthorized outposts "have caused considerable damage to settlement", army radio quoted Lieberman as telling journalists.
His comments came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that settlements would not be removed, drawing no distinction between outposts and settlements authorized by the authorities.
"It is our land. We have come back here to stay here for good," he said.
United Nations chief Antonio Guterres, visiting the West Bank Tuesday, called Israeli settlements a "major obstacle" to peace with Palestinians, noting that they are "illegal under international law".
Lieberman also criticized a controversial settlement law that would legalize dozens of Jewish settlements built on private Palestinian land.
The Supreme Court froze the law's implementation on August 18.
Lieberman said the law would retroactively legalize 2,000 homes and buildings built on Palestinian land.
But, he said, it would also legalize "10,000 homes" built by Palestinians without permission from the Israeli authorities.
Lieberman also lashed out at Israeli extremists who carry out attacks on Palestinians, describing them as "anarchists" and "idiots" who are damaging the settlement enterprise.
Israel has seen a number of "price tag" attacks -- Jewish nationalist-motivated hate crimes targeting Palestinians, Arab Israelis, their property and Muslim and Christian holy sites.
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