Ministers postpone outpost bill by 2 months

Edelstein tells 'Post' that Justice Ministry staff expressed concern bill was problematic with respect to both Israeli, international law.

December 12, 2011 02:14
2 minute read.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yul

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstei. (photo credit: Courtesy)

The Ministerial Legislative Committee postponed Sunday by two months any vote on an outpost bill that sought to authorize settler homes built on private Palestinian property.

Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman told the committee the bill does not reflect government policy.

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Ministers to debate outpost bill

Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post that during the discussion Justice Ministry staff expressed concern the bill was problematic with respect to both Israeli and international law.

He said the bill was postponed to allow an outpost committee that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to form on the issue of unauthorized West Bank construction to complete work on the matter.

To date no outpost committee has been formed in spite of repeated pledges by Netanyahu that he would appoint committee members.

Edelstein said he told the committee he didn’t see a link between the committee’s work and the need to legislate a bill to solve the issue of unauthorized homes.

“This legislation deserves serious discussion,” said Edelstein who voted against the postponement.

The bill seeks to reclassify private Palestinian property as state land if settler homes were constructed on that property with the help of state funds, such as for infrastructure work or through personal loans and grants. The land should also be reclassified if the state gave any kind of initial approval for the construction, the bill states.

Palestinian property owners with proof of purchase should be compensated, according to the bill. The was filed by MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and has the support of coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud). Likud MKs Miri Regev and Yariv Levin have also signed on to the bill, as has Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem.

It comes as the IDF this month is expected to enforce a state pledge to relocate this month some of the homes in the Ramat Gilad outpost, located near the Karnei Shomron settlement in Samaria.

It is partially built on state land and partially on land the state has classified as belonging to that of private Palestinians.

Veteran settler activist Moshe Zar has rejected the state classification and claims he purchased the property from Palestinians.

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