Summary of the Opinion Concerning Unauthorized Outposts – Talya Sason, Adv.

The reality revealed is difficult.

For years Israeli governments have dismantled of their roles, not formally but in fact, and left the scene for the executive echelon. Instead of the government deciding on establishing settlements in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, others took its place, beginning in the mid nineties:

The “engine” behind a decision to establish outposts are regional councils in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, settlers and activists, imbued with ideology and motivation to increase Israeli settlement in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories. Some of the officials working in the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, and in the Ministry of Construction & Housing, cooperated with them to promote the unauthorized outposts phenomenon. These actions were apparently inspired by different Ministers of Housing in the relevant times, either by overlooking or by actual encouragement and support, with additional support from other Ministries, initiated either by officials or by the political echelon of each Ministry.

The result was that the executive echelon, so to speak, became the deciding echelon, with no authorization, in contrary to government resolutions, baring no political or public responsibility, which by nature of things rests upon the political echelon.

All of this with massive financing by the State of Israel, with no appropriate transparency, no criteria.
The establishment of unauthorized outposts violates standard procedure, good governing rules, and especially an ongoing bold law violation.

Furthermore, the State authorities speak two voices. Sometimes grant, and sometimes prevent. Rules have become flexible. One hand builds outposts, the other invests money and force to evacuate them.

These actions were not done by individuals only. The problem is State and public authorities took part in breaking the law. They are the ones who financed construction without a resolution by the political echelon, in contrary to government resolutions, with no legal planning status, sometimes not on State owned land, sometimes on private Palestinian property or on survey land.

State authorities and public authorities broke the laws, regulations and rules made by the State.

The IDF, who has sovereignty in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and is responsible for peace and security, and the Israeli police, who is responsible of law enforcement in these territories – both fail to stand up to their missions. Law enforcement bodies cannot act against State authorities breaking the law. They cannot handle a mixed message, that the outposts are illegal but encouraged by the authorities.

The security concept, that wherever there is an Israeli person – IDF will be there to protect him, resulted in a very sad reality. Therefore, any settler who places his home wherever he chooses, even if unauthorized and against the law – gains the protection of the army. The outcome is that the settlers are the ones who set the army’s deployment in the territories, not the army. Everyone is king. In order to protect one outpost, forces must be taken out of other places. The forces are not unlimited, and so the security level drops down.

The protection supplied by IDF to unauthorized outposts, its mere existence there, drags it unwillingly to give its “seal” to unauthorized outposts.

And as if all this is not enough, the law enforcement tools in Judea, Samaria and Gaza is lacking. The security legislation does not support law enforcing bodies with the necessary tools to handle law violations regarding unauthorized outposts. Long time needed legislation was not done, even though the bodies involved are well aware of it. A certain change appears, maybe, in the last few months.

The State of Israel is a democratic state. This is what the Declaration of Independence and the Basic Laws teach us. This is the glue that sticks all its citizens together, allows them to live together in one political entity.
Democracy and the rule of law are two inseparables. One cannot exist without the other.

The reality drawn up in this opinion shows that all of these deeds seriously endanger the principal of the rule of law. Even though the outposts are built in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories and not in Israel, the settlers and the authorities who take part in their establishment are Israeli. A continuing, bold, institutionalized law violation undermined the rule of law. When law violations become standard behavior it tends to spread into other areas.

The Jewish settlement in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories is a matter in great dispute in Israel. Some support it passionately, others oppose it. Settlement policy in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza territories is should be decided on by an elected government.

But any government policy must obey the law. All officials and politicians are governed by law.

The actions described are not a matter of political view. It is a matter of law enforcement, a question of the rule of law.

In order to maintain the democratic regime of Israel, urgent measures must be taken to change the reality I have described. It can no longer be accepted. It must be reformed, and I believe you have the power to do so.
I therefore suggest to implement my recommendations.

Talya Sason, Adv.

Cc: Attorney General

Ref: Israeli Foreign department

The Sasson Report is an official Israeli government report published on March 8, 2005 that concluded that Israeli state bodies had been discreetly diverting millions of shekels to build West Bank settlements and outposts that were illegal under Israeli law. The report was commissioned by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and was headed by the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department Talia Sasson. The report detailed how officials in the ministries of defence and housing and the settlement division of the World Zionist Organization spent millions of shekels from state budgets to support the illegal outposts. Ms Sasson called it a “blatant violation of the law” and said “drastic steps” were needed to rectify the situation. It describes secret cooperation between various ministries and official institutions to consolidate “wildcat” outposts, which settlers began erecting more than a decade ago. Sasson added that the problem was ongoing, saying “the process of outpost expansion is profoundly under way.”.[1]

Ref: Wiki


Bringing an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is as much a prerequisite for peace in the Middle East as is the Palestinian recognition of Israel. The Israeli occupation is not only inhuman and the cause of extreme suffering for the 3.5 million Palestinians living under its subjugation, but it is also illegal under international law. Attempts to claim otherwise have no legal validity and are morally bankrupt and politically dangerous since they basically preclude the achievement of peace.


While it is true that victorious powers can legally occupy hostile territories seized in the course of conflict – an example of which is the Allies’ occupation of the territory of Nazi Germany during World War II, foreign occupation should nevertheless be a temporary situation, pending a political settlement or solution. During the interim, the occupying Power must comply with relevant instruments of international humanitarian law with regard to its conduct in the territory it has occupied.

International law is very clear on two basic principles: the inadmissibility of the acquisition of  territory  by  war  and  the  prohibition  of  the  transfer  of  civilians of  the occupying Power to the occupied territory. Both are intended to prevent expansionism and the colonisation of occupied territories. Both complement another explicit principle of international law, namely the right of peoples to self-determination, a right that a colonial or occupying Power is obliged to respect.

The Israeli occupation has clearly violated all three of these principles of international law. In fact, throughout its prolonged occupation, Israel has persistently and aggressively breached international law.

Thus, what makes the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land illegal is not the fact that it occurred during the war of 1967 (regardless of the narrative concerning the causes of the war). What makes the Israeli occupation illegal is that it has existed for 35 years, during which time it transformed into a form of colonialism and suppressed and oppressed an entire people for decades, preventing them from the exercise of their right to self-determination and the establishment of their State, Palestine.

Israel, as an occupying Power, has undertaken countless measures attempting to change the legal status, demographic composition and character of the territory by confiscating land, exploiting natural resources, building more than 250 settlements, transferring more than 400,000 Israelis to the occupied territories, establishing a dual system of law and even annexing part of the territory.

These actions have been carried out in direct contravention of the Fourt Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, which, among other things, defines the rules of conduct and the obligations of the occupying Power. Clearly then, the active intent of the Israeli occupation has been to negate Palestinian rights, to create new facts on the ground and to illegally expand Israel’s borders.

Security Council resolution 242 (1967), which is the bedrock of the peace process and of any future peace settlement, is anchored in the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. The old and deceptive argument that the resolution calls for withdrawal from ‘territories’ and not ‘the territories’ not withstanding (in fact, the French text of the resolution does contain the article ‘the’). The call in the resolution for the withdrawal of Israel can only be read within the context of the above-mentioned principle.

Since the onset of the Israeli occupation in 1967, and in response to established, illegal policies and practices of the occupying Power, the Security Council has adopted 26 resolutions that affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the territories occupied by Israel. Of those resolutions, several deal directly with the issue of Israeli settlements and several also specifically deal with Israeli violations in Occupied East Jerusalem.

The resolutions clearly address the illegality of Israel’s policies and practices with regard to both issues. For example, some of the resolutions affirm that the Israeli settlements ‘have no legal validity‘; call upon the government and people of Israel ‘to dismantle the existing settlements’; and call upon ‘all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories’.

As for Occupied East Jerusalem, which the Israeli government illegally annexed in 1980, the Security Council, in resolution 478 (1980), determined ‘that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and, in particular, the recent “basic law” on Jerusalem are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith’.

Similar affirmations were made by the Council in several other resolutions. Moreover, the General Assembly and other UN organs have adopted scores of resolutions on the illegal policies and practices of the Israeli occupation and on the legitimacy of, and the necessity for, the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people.

There has therefore been absolutely no impropriety on the part of the UN Secretary-General concerning his recent statements with regard to the Israeli occupation. Kofi Annan’s call for an end to ‘the illegal occupation’ was not only legally correct but was also not a concept invented by the Secretary-General, as reflected in the numerous resolutions of the United Nations. It was, however, important for Mr Annan to add his moral authority to the urgent need for an end to that illegal occupation, particularly during this late stage in the perilous deterioration of the situation.

In that statement on 12 March 2002, the Secretary-General addressed both the Palestinian and Israeli sides. The Palestinian side probably did not like everything it heard. But, taken in its entirety, the statement was widely viewed as a necessary and responsible call that intended to, and should, help the parties to move forward towards a peaceful settlement. For this to happen, the Israeli people and the Israeli government must indeed come to terms, for once and for all, with the illegality of their occupation and the need for its termination. 


 Third World Network Features
About the writer: Dr Nasser Al-Kidwa is Ambassador and Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.


The above article first appeared in Palestine & the UN (Vol. 7 Issue 8, mid-September 2002).