Monday’s High Court of Justice decision to demolish 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost in the West Bank
came as parliamentarians gathered to debate a bill dissolving the 18th
Approval of the bill would send the Knesset almost immediately
into recess until after the September 4 elections.
responded to the ruling by calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to
support Knesset legislation that could prevent the razing of the five apartment
buildings in which the 30 families live.
In the past year, Netanyahu has
consistently rejected all parliamentary attempts to pass such
Unless the Knesset dissolution is delayed, it is unlikely
that such legislation could be passed in time to prevent razing of the
buildings, located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement.
session could be called to vote on the legislation, but such an event would be
“The state has a moral responsibility toward the
residents that it encouraged and sent to live there,” said Culture and Sport
Minister Limor Livnat (Likud).
“This is the wrong decision and it is one
that the public cannot live with,” said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz
“The government must quickly enact legislation that will prevent
the home demolitions and allow Ulpana residents to stay in their homes,” Katz
Within minutes of the court’s announcement, both right-wing and
left-wing politicians had turned Ulpana into a game of political
“It is clear to anyone that the prime minister decisively
failed to defend the settlements. It is a Gordian knot of his own making. He
could fix it with legislation whose passage he has physically prevented,” said
MK Uri Ariel (National Union).
He called on Netanyahu to hold a special
session to pass such a law.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) blamed the court and
not his party for the decision, which he noted ran counter to the will of his
“The court’s surrender to the extreme Left, damages [the
execution] of the people’s will, which chose to place the Likud in power so that
it could develop and build Judea and Samaria,” he said.
“It is the
elected officials, the Likud-led government, which should determine these issues
and not the Supreme Court justices, which represent their own individual
opinions and not the will of the people,” Danon said.
The Labor party
spoke out in defense of the decision.
The High Court of Justice has
determined in a very clear way that the government must stop evading its
There is no alternative for respect for the rule of law, the
Labor party said, adding that political tricks won’t help and that the court’s
order should be executed and not evaded.
Meretz party head MK Zehava
Gal-On stated, “The prime minister has been punished for his conniving exercise
in which he submitted a request to cancel the [initial] ruling [to demolish the
Ulpana homes by May 1] two days before the final date for its
Now, Gal-On said, Netanyahu will be “forced to evict the
settlers in the midst of an election campaign.”
The High Court of Justice
ruling Monday came in response to a state request to be released from its
initial promise to take down the homes by May 1.
The state also asked the
court to reopen the legal case against the Ulpana homes and to allow it 60 days to reassess its outpost policy. The court rejected both
Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard said that the state had made a
mistake by asking the court to reopen a closed case.
In so doing, he
said, it greatly expanded the implications of any judicial judgment on the
Ulpana outpost from one that dealt strictly with the structures, to one that
could impact the authority of the court itself.
“Once the state filed the
unprecedented request to cancel a final and binding ruling, the question of the
case became much broader than the issue of the five apartments in the Ulpana
outpost and became a battle over the law-abiding nature of Israeli society,”
But The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel slammed the
ruling, saying it was “inconceivable that the High Court ignored the rights of
citizens who bought apartments in good faith.”
“It’s obvious that if it
were a residential neighborhood of Umm el-Fahm, the justices would have found a
way not to destroy the homes of innocent citizens,” said the organization’s
attorney Yossi Fuchs.