Israel's government says the Amona outpost is illegal, but it is referring to Israeli law. Under international law all settlements on occupied land are illegal.

Barely 300 people live in Amona, but with so much attention focused on this one, small place, is the international community losing sight of the bigger issues that surround Israel's illegal settlement programme?

Israeli settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem have grown dramatically over the past few decades.

The settler population has more than doubled over the past 30 years and now stands at around 600,000. Of those, 400,000 settlers live in Palestinian territory in the West Bank and the remainder in occupied East Jerusalem.

There are 100 outposts in the West Bank that have not been approved by the Israeli government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said he's against these, but efforts to clear them - like the current operation in Amona - have been rare. And a bill to legalise such outposts under Israeli law is working its way through the Knesset.

Netanyahu says he backs an eventual two-state solution, but have his government's actions made that impossible?

Presenter: Martine Dennis


Hanan Ashrawi - PLO executive committee member

Mitchell Barak - Israeli political analyst; former speechwriter for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Daniel Levy - President of the US/Middle East Project

Source: Al Jazeera News