It would be unjust to destroy 30 Ulpana outpost homes and a solution must be
found to save them, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said Saturday at a
cultural event in Ness Ziona.
Last week, the High Court of Justice
ordered the state to take down five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost,
each of which house six families, by July 1. According to the court, the homes,
which are located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement in the West Bank,
were built without permits on private Palestinian property.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a meeting on the matter with Defense
Minister Ehud Barak (Independence), Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin
(Likud), Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), Education Minister
Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu),
Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, as well
as representatives of the IDF’s Civil Administration of Judea and
No conclusions were reached in the meeting. A number of
parliamentarians plan to ask the Knesset this week to approve legislation that
would authorize the homes.
Netanyahu has not stated his opinion on the
matter, but it is believed that he would give parliamentarians in his coalition
the freedom to vote their conscience on the matter.
Although the bills
were inspired by the problem facing the Ulpana homes, they deal with the larger
issue of unauthorized outposts.
The bills must pass a preliminary
reading, be turned over to a committee, and then returned to the Knesset for
three more votes.
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.
In cases like
Ulpana, where the outposts are located on private Palestinian property, the
legislation calls for the landowners to be compensated.
The bills have
yet to be placed on the Knesset schedule for this week, according to the
spokesman for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. But politicians have said that they
could be debated either on Monday or Wednesday. At a ministerial meeting on
Friday, questions were raised as to the legality of such legislation.
Saturday night, Ya’alon said his issue was with the state and not the High Court
of Justice. The court, he said, made its decision based on information, which it
obtained from the state.
He differentiated the issue of Ulpana from that
of other outposts. Ya’alon said that Ulpana was a neighborhood of Beit El, which
was constructed with the initial consent of the government.
“If it was
destroyed, it would be a great injustice to the people living there,” he said.
“A solution must be found.”