Policy of razing settler homes must end, says Bennett

The right-wing politician has been under attack from setters for not doing enough on the issue of unauthorized settler homes.

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September 24, 2016 05:01
2 minute read.
Mounted Israeli police scuffle with pro-settler supporters at the Amona outpost, February 1, 2006

Mounted Israeli police scuffle with pro-settler supporters at the Amona outpost, February 1, 2006. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must rescind his 2011 policy of razing settler homes on private Palestinian land, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Friday.

Bennett issued his statement to activists in his party on Friday to activists in the Bayit Yehudi party, which he heads.

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“We’ll ask Netanyahu to abolish this 2011 decision and say instead that from here on in, we [the state] will authorize these homes,” Bennett said.

The right-wing politician, who was formerly the director-general of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria, has been under attack from setters for not doing enough on the issue of unauthorized settler homes.

The matter has come to head because of three High Court of Justice decisions to demolish 64 such structures. Some 55 of the units in danger are modular structures of which 40 are in the Amona outpost and another 15 in the Derech Ha’avot outpost.

The court has also said nine permanent homes in the Ofra settlement must be demolished.

All the structures were built without permits on private Palestinian property. The court has forced the state to take action in reposes to petitions by left-wing organizations.

With the Amona demolitions slated for December 25th, settlers and right-wing activists have stepped up the pressure on politicians in both Netanyahu’s Likud party and Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party.

But to date, the settlers, particularly those in the Amona outpost, have felt that the Likud has been more responsive than the Bayit Yehudi. Some 27, of the Likud's 30 member Knesset faction this week have pledged to support the passage of legislation in the upcoming Knesset session that would retroactively legalize the 2,000 homes, including those in the Amona outpost.

Passage of the bill, however, is questionable, because Netanyahu has in the past opposed such legislation and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said that the bill is unconstitutional.

Bennett on Friday pledged to push forward alternative options, which he said would deal with the matter.

He reminded his party members that problem was the Likud’s fault, because it was Netanyahu’s policy which has helped place the homes in danger in the first place.

“What,” he said, “suddenly at the last minute the Likud suddenly woke up to the danger?” “So they signed the petition,” he said. “And they yelled about how terrible the HCJ is. But they haven’t done the one obvious thing, which is to rescind that policy,” Bennett said.


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