Ministers under pressure to back outpost bill

Law would require Palestinians to prove land ownership before IDF is permitted to raze buildings, evacuate residents.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 31, 2011 20:55
2 minute read.
West Bank outpost [illustrative]

Migron outpost aerial_311. (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)

 
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The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will decide Sunday whether the government will support a bill that would make it much more difficult to evacuate unauthorized settlement outposts in Judea and Samaria.

The committee has voted down multiple bills pertaining to outposts over the past few months. But this bill is perceived to have a slightly better chance of passing than its predecessors.

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The bill would require Palestinians to clearly prove in a court hearing that they have ownership of the land an outpost is built on before the IDF would be permitted to raze buildings or evacuate residents.

Israel Beiteinu ministers are expected to support the bill and Independence Party ministers will support the legislation, which was sponsored by Likud MKs Ze’ev Elkin, Yariv Levin and Tzipi Hotovely, Israel Beiteinu MK David Rotem, and National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz.

Likud ministers have come under intense pressure from pro-settlement organizations to vote in favor of the legislation. Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria Chairman Danny Dayan lobbied ministers on Saturday night to back the bill.

“This bill would not enable private land to be taken away from Palestinians or retroactively authorize outposts,” Dayan said.

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“This proposal is loyal to the rule of law, because it gives the courts the right to make the decisions and it protects human rights better than the current situation. Any way you look at it, this bill is worthy of support.”

In the current system, the civil administration in the IDF that governs the West Bank, and commanders in the field, can authorize evacuating outposts and destroying houses. Their decisions don’t have to be announced in advance, so they are only appealed to courts after the evacuation or destruction takes place.

The bill was initiated after Palestinians had trouble proving their ownership of the land Migron was built on after the court ordered the large outpost evacuated.

Channel 2 reported Saturday night that Justice Edmond Levy, who is set to retire next week, will be asked to join a governmental task force on outposts.

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