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US monitoring settlements: Israeli paper

May 07, 2003

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TEL AVIV, May 6: US satellites are checking that Israel is fulfilling its peace plan obligations by freezing settlement expansion and dismantling outposts in the West Bank, the Maariv newspaper said on Tuesday.

“Every few days American satellites photograph areas in Judea and Samaria in order to ascertain that Israel is fulfilling roadmap conditions,” the daily said.

The roadmap is an internationally-drafted peace plan aimed at ending the conflict and creating a Palestinian state.

“Defence ministry officials asked Judea and Samaria (West Bank) leaders to stop setting up new outposts without government approval in order to avoid further pressure from the Americans,” Maariv said.

The roadmap, which was submitted to Israel and the Palestinians last week, demands that Israel halts all settlement activities and dismantles the outposts which the government has so far tolerated although it officially deems them illegal.

But Maariv also said that the Israeli government has promised settler leaders some of the outposts would be “legalised” if others were dismantled, a pledge which has sparked the ire of the United States. —AFP