Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
A preliminary reading of parliamentary bills to legalize West Bank outposts
could be delayed unless Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu allows ministers and
deputy ministers to vote their conscience.
MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit
Hayehudi) and Ya’acov Katz (National Union) stated their intention to present
private member outpost bills to the Knesset plenum this Wednesday.
believe they have enough votes to pass the bills if Netanyahu does not impose
coalition discipline, and instead allows all politicians, including ministers,
freedom to vote as they want. The legislation must go through a preliminary
reading and three other votes before it becomes law.
Netanyahu has yet to
publicly issue instructions to the coalition for the vote.
At the Likud
faction meeting the prime minister said that the issue was complex and that he
preferred other options outside of legislation.
In the past he has
rejected similar attempts to legislate the matter.
According to one
source at the meeting, he said that all ideas on that score were welcome. A
ministerial forum met on Friday to seek options for the outposts and is likely
to meet again in the coming days.
Time is of the essence in this matter,
because the High Court of Justice has ordered the state to demolish 30 homes in
the Ulpana outpost by July 1 and to evacuate the entire Migron outpost of 50
families by August 1.
According to the court, the homes in both outposts
were built without the proper permits on private Palestinian
Right-wing politicians believe that legislation is one of the
few legal avenues which can avert the destruction of the outpost
The scope of the bills, however, goes beyond Migron and the 30
Ulpana homes. It speaks of authorizing dozens of West Bank outposts, a move
which in many cases would transform them into new settlements.
international community is likely to believe that such authorization would break
Israel’s pledge not to create new settlements. Israel thinks that the pledge
does not cover already existing communities that lack the proper authorization.
However the government has not yet authorized the outposts.
It is for
this reason that legislators have turned to the Knesset.
The bills would
authorize even those outposts built on private Palestinian property and would
provide the landowners with compensation.
At the Likud faction meeting MK
Ayoub Kara said that such a move would be difficult, because no Palestinian
could willingly accept compensation as an alternative without risking
The Palestinian Authority imposes a death sentence on any
Palestinian who sells West Bank land to Jews; a move which has complicated
authentication of land ownership in the West Bank.