Last updated: 19 March, 2013

Israel razes structures in West Bank settler outposts

Israeli forces on Tuesday razed four temporary structures in two West Bank settler outposts, police said, in an operation just 36 hours before a visit by US President Barack Obama.

The overnight operation targeted structures in the outposts of Or Tzion and Ramat Migron near the West Bank city of Ramallah, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Troops have taken down temporary structures in both outposts on numerous occasions, but each time the settlers quickly rebuild them.

Israel differentiates between “legal” settlements and “illegal” outposts set up without government permission, but the international community views all construction in occupied Palestinian territory as a violation of international law.

Obama is due to arrive in Israel on Wednesday for his first visit since being elected president in 2008, and in order to avoid embarrassing diplomatic incidents, Netanyahu has reportedly ordered a freeze on all approvals of new settlement construction.

Direct peace talks broke down just weeks after they were launched in September 2010 over an intractable dispute about Israel’s settlement building on land the Palestinians want for a future state.