Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday halted a proposal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to legalize several unrecognized West Bank outposts, calling the move "irresponsible."
During a government cabinet meeting, Netanyahu attempted to advance the proposal to recognize the communities -- which include Avigayil, Asael, Kedem Arava, Metzoke Deragot, Ovnat and Tel Tzion.
The communities, which have been condemned by the Palestinians, are illegal under current Israeli law.
Gantz struck the attempt to recognize the outposts from the agenda, saying that "no diplomatically irresponsible proposal will be raised at such a sensitive time."
Netanyahu had previously hinted that he would place many of the communities on the agenda for formal recognition.
"The [matter] must be resolved," he said. "This is a humanitarian issue."
Netanyahu had said he'd spoken to Gantz's defense ministry about the issue, but not Gantz himself.
Earlier this month, Netanyahu unveiled plans to approve nearly 800 new disputed West Bank settlements.
The issue could ultimately be an election issue for both Netanyahu and Gantz, who will be on the ballot in March for another national vote aimed at forming a coalition government. It will be Israel's fourth election in two years.