Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
With his bill to legalize West Bank outposts facing defeat in the Knesset on Wednesday, National Union MK Ya'acov Katz on Tuesday slammed a government plan to carry out the Supreme Court's orders to evacuate houses in the Ulpana outpost outside of the Beit El settlement, dubbing it "destruction for the sake of destruction."
Speaking at the Knesset State Control Committee meeting on the fate of Ulpana, Katz lashed out against proponents of the evacuation such as Minister Benny Begin. "I see with what delicate carefulness you take care of the Beduin," he told Begin, "and with what evil-heartedness you deal with settlers."
"He who brought down Sharon and Olmert will erase this law from Israel," Katz said, alluding to the former Israeli prime ministers whose terms ended due, respectively, to stroke and corruption scandal.
Attorney-General Yehudah Weinstein is set to rule on the legality of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plans to evacuate homes in Ulpana and rebuild them in Beit El. Netanyahu came out against alternative bills on Monday, telling his faction during a closed-door meeting in the Knesset, “The bills could be disqualified by the court and cause problems internationally, which would result in the outpost being evacuated and damage to the entire settlement enterprise."
Katz and Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev plan to present the private member bills to the Knesset on Wednesday for a preliminary reading. But the bills can only pass with ministerial approval.
The legislation is seen as a last-ditch effort to save five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost from demolition by July 1 as mandated by the High Court of Justice.
United Torah Judaism MK Yisrael Eichler said the matter boiled down to whether the citizens or the court rules the state. "When a state turns its sovereignty over to the Attorney-General’s office and the court, it destroys the state," he said, calling it the "worst dictatorship ever." He urged the government to offer compensation to Palestinians instead of destroying the houses.
MK Marina Solodkin from Netanyahu's coalition partner Kadima defended the prime minister's plan, saying, "The state is giving land to build in another place, so we support the prime minister’s decision to demolish the outpost."
A defense adviser added that while Biet El was built was captured for military purposes, Ulpana was not, and the residents knew that when they built homes there.