The government must pass a law to circumvent the High Court of Justice’s
decision to tear down 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost, Foreign Minister Avigdor
Liberman said on Wednesday at a press conference in the Knesset.
expressed doubts about Kadima and Likud’s planned alternative to the “Tal
These two issues are the most important tests of the new
coalition’s worth, the foreign minister said as he spoke with reporters in
“The residents living on the Ulpana Hill are law-abiding
citizens and fulfill all their obligations: They serve in the IDF and do reserve
duty, they work and pay taxes,” Liberman explained. “This is not an illegal
outpost; it is the government’s mistake.”
Last week, the state asked the
High Court to release it from having to destroy the outpost and to reopen the
case against the homes, built on land classified by the state as private
Palestinian property. There is new evidence that brings the designation into
question, and a lower court is adjudicating the land-ownership issue in a civil
However, on Monday, the High Court rejected the state’s request,
ruling that the homes must be demolished by July 1.
According to the
foreign minister, the state must take responsibility and pass a law to
circumvent the court’s decision, because it sent Ulpana residents to the
outskirts of Beit El to build their homes. The best way for the government to
fix its mistake is to pass a law that will legalize the Ulpana
“If we take down the Ulpana [outpost], next month there
will be a new Ulpana,” he stated.
Liberman said the outpost will not test
Yisrael Beytenu, which has consistently opposed its demolition; rather it will
be a test of the government and the coalition.
In the past year, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently rejected legislative attempts to
authorize the outpost and others like it. The High Court has similarly ordered
the state to evict 50 families from the Migron outpost by August 1. The state
has also told the court it would remove 25 families from the Givat Assaf outpost
by July 1.
In light of Monday’s court ruling on the Ulpana outpost, the
only lawful option left to avert the court decree is through
At a press conference on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he was
studying the matter.
Likud politicians are hopeful that he will now press
forward on the legislation.
In reference to the Tal Law, Liberman said he
has heard several proposals, and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin’s (Likud) is
Liberman demanded a “serious proposal,” saying he does not
want to be presented with one “after the fact” of its approval.
“I do not
need to hear about proposals from journalists in the Knesset. I expect to get
the information from the coalition chairman, if he has such a proposal,” the
foreign minister added.
On Tuesday, Likud sources told The Jerusalem Post
that the coalition’s universal service bill will not include a maximum number of
yeshiva students exempt from the IDF each year. Rather, it will have a minimum
number of haredim serving, which will increase annually.
is not going to fight for credit, but we want to see a comprehensive, serious
bill,” Liberman explained, adding that his party will support any legislation
that requires equal service for all.
As for the new coalition, Liberman
said he was privy to every detail of the negotiations before its formation,
although he was in Germany when it was announced.
“There is no reason for
this government not to fill all its days,” he stated. “We did not propose a bill
to dissolve the Knesset, and we do not want an early election. Israeli
citizens gained from this deal, and nothing else is interesting.”
same time, the Yisrael Beytenu leader said that if there was an election in
September, he would be prepared. However, he added, October 22, 2013, is the
best date for Israel.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.