In a last ditch effort to save 30 Ulpana outpost homes from demolition, two
parliamentarians plan to ask the Knesset next week to approve legislation to
retroactively authorize the structures located on the outskirts of the West Bank
settlement of Beit El.
Both MKs, National Union Party head Ya’acov Katz
and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) plan to present separate bills on the
matter, for which they believe there is majority support.
It is unclear
if bills will be presented to the plenum on Monday or Wednesday. Knesset Speaker
Reuven Rivlin has yet to place them on the schedule. The vote is considered a
preliminary reading, after which the bills must move to committee and return to
The timing was inspired by last Monday’s High Court of
Justice ruling ordering the state, by July 1, to demolish the 30 Ulpana homes,
which were constructed without the proper permits on land classified by the
state as private Palestinian property.
But the bills deal with the larger
issue of unauthorized outposts. If the plenum passes the bills and they survive
judicial challenges, the legislation would transform dozens of fledgling hilltop
communities into new legal settlements under Israeli law.
Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to publicly state his opinion on the matter. He is
expected to hold meetings in the coming days on the issue with a ministerial
forum that includes: Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister-without-Portfolio
Bennie Begin, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe
Ya’alon, Kadima party chairman Shaul Mofaz and Attorney- General Yehuda
On Thursday, the Makor Rishon newspaper published details of a
conversation between Netanyahu and Rivlin on the matter. According to the paper,
Netanyahu told Rivlin that he would free coalition members to vote with their
conscience, rather than opposing the legislation has he has done in the
An official in the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu was
looking at different options within the framework of the law.
The Jerusalem Post he believes that there is enough support to pass the
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told journalists
that he supported legislation to authorize the outposts.
seeks legislation for those West Bank outposts constructed with governmental
funds or initial technical approvals. In instances where such fledgling settler
communities were built on private Palestinian land, it suggests compensating
landowners rather than evacuating outpost residents.
would also retroactively legalize homes within West Bank
Katz’s spokesman said he believed that some 9,000 already
existing structures would be impacted by the bill.
Peace Now Executive
Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that the bills were a test case for the new
national unity coalition.
The question, he said, is whether the
parliamentarians will support “land theft” or reject the bills and show “they
are committed to the basic principles of democratic life and rule of law.”
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