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Israeli Govt. Minister Dedicates Illegal Outpost

GUSH SHALOM pob 3322, Tel-Aviv

Senior cabinet minister to dedicate illegal settler outpost today at Hebron, West Bank

Gush Shalom Press Release 3/12/2003

In recent weeks, the Sharon Government is under pressure from the US to start dismantling illegal settlement outposts in the Occupied Territories, as clearly stipulated in the "Road-map for Peace" recently enshrined in a UN Security Council resolution. Defence Minister Mofaz made pronouncements about his intention to dismantle "some" of these outposts "in the near future". But meanwhile, a senior minister in the Sharon cabinet is today going to endorse and give public support to the creation of just such an illegal settlement outpost deep inside the Palestinian city of Hebron.

Housing Minister Effie Eitam, leader of the National Religious Party and member of Sharon's Inner Cabinet, is going to arrive today at what the Hebron settlers call "The Heroes' Outpost" - a piece of Palestinian land in the heart of the Old City of Hebron seized by settlers last year, in which they had maintained a continuous presence despite being several times "evicted" in front of TV cameras.

Minister Eitam is going to be take part in a large-scale gathering to be held at that particular location today (Wednesday., December 3) at 3.30 PM, where he is due to "dedicate a Torah scroll". At Minister Eitam's side in that ceremony there will be the notorious Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, who last year called upon settlers to help themselves to olives from the groves of their Palestinian neighbors - since, as the Rabbi put it, "God makes the rains fall solely for the sake of the Jews".

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According to a settler ad placed in the extreme-right paper "Makor Rishon" (28/11), the settlers are going to bus in their friends from Jerusalem, with the convoy of bullet-proof buses closely guarded by the army, which is also due to detail a considerable force to guarding the ceremony itself. So much for the "evacuation" of settler outposts, promised by Sharon to every visiting diplomat...

Further details: Adam Keller, +972-3-5565804 or +972-56-709603

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