JERUSALEM -- An Israeli list of its unauthorized West Bank outposts drew a public rebuke yesterday from US officials, who said Israel is failing to keep a promise to dismantle dozens of the enclaves.
Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported that the list includes 28 outposts, 16 of which are in the process of receiving government approval. A senior Israeli government official declined to comment on the report but said the list had been handed to US officials.
Paul Patin, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, criticized Israel, saying: "You can't create an illegal outpost one day and subsequently declare that it's legal."
American officials have expressed growing impatience with Israel over the West Bank outposts. Under the US-backed "road map" peace plan, endorsed in June 2003, Israel is required to dismantle dozens of outposts.
But it has removed only a small number, and scores dot the barren hilltops of the West Bank. Some have grown into small communities, with synagogues, playgrounds, and state-funded roads.
The United States and the Palestinians have criticized the outposts as seeds of future settlements that prejudge peace negotiations.
Israel already has established about 150 settlements, home to 230,000 Israelis, in the West Bank.
The Palestinians hope to establish an independent state in all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
US Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer last week called on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to fulfill a commitment to dismantle the outposts.
Kurtzer noted that Israeli officials had pledged to turn over a list of outposts to the United States within 30 days after Sharon visited the White House in April.
The Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Israeli Defense Ministry presented the outpost list to Kurtzer earlier this week.
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, meanwhile, ordered the army to review the route of the unbuilt section of Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank, security officials said on condition of anonymity. Only one quarter has been built.
Mofaz proposed the review in a meeting with senior security officials yesterday, a day after Israel's Supreme Court ordered the government to reroute a key segment near Jerusalem.
The court said the path would have caused too much hardship to thousands of Palestinians and it violated international law.