Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to hold a ministerial meeting this
week, possibly as early as Monday, to deal with Jewish homes in the West Bank
that are in danger of being evacuated, particularly those that involve private
Netanyahu called the meeting at the request of
Likud ministers Gideon Sa’ar, Yuli Edelstein and Yisrael Katz.
at the meeting are expected to talk about Beit Hamachpela, the three-story
apartment building in Hebron that 15 Jewish families – from that city and the
nearby Kiryat Arba settlement – moved into on Thursday without proper
They are also expected to discuss the fate of two unauthorized
outposts, Migron and Ulpana. The court has ordered the state to evict 50 Migron
families by August 1.
The state separately promised the court it would
evict 30 families from Ulpana, located on the outskirts of Beit El.
issue of all three locations was raised with Netanyahu at a Likud ministerial
committee meeting on Sunday.
“We spoke of the necessity of legislation to
solve the problem,” Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post
parliamentarians have called on Netanyahu to back legislation that would
legalize the unauthorized West Bank Jewish construction en masse. To date,
Netanyahu has rejected all such attempts.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) is
working on collecting the 25 signatures necessary to hold a special Knesset
session on the matter during the Passover break.
Netanyahu’s policy has
been to take steps to legalize unauthorized Jewish construction on state land
and to work to relocate building on private Palestinian property.
Edelstein said that this guideline is not clear enough and does not address all
the issues, particularly with respect to private Palestinian property. Many
legislators have argued that in certain instances of abandoned property and
state-funded construction, settlers should be allowed to remain in their homes
and Palestinians should be compensated.
Settlers are looking to Netanyahu
to personally intervene to save the endangered homes and to take firmer steps to
legalize existing West Bank Jewish structures, which lack proper
The Hebron families, in particular, need a permit from the Civil
Administration of Judea and Samaria to stay in the building and have urged Netanyahu to pressure Defense Minister Ehud Barak to grant that
“We hope that tomorrow the deal [for Beit Hamachpela] will be
authorized and we can celebrate Passover together with the rest of Israel,” said
Shlomo Levinger, a spokesman for the 15 families.
The apartment residents
are worried that the IDF will forcibly evict them.
Although the details
of the Hebron, Ulpana and Migron sites differ, they are linked by Palestinians’
prior ownership of the properties.
The Hebron families said they
purchased the apartment building from its Palestinian owner and moved in at this
time because the structure was vacant, and they feared Palestinians would take
over the building. It is located across a small park from the Cave of the
Patriarchs, in a Palestinian neighborhood in a section of the city under Israeli
The police and the civil administration are
investigating the legality of the sale.
On Sunday attorneys for the
families met with representatives from the civil administration and the
attorney-general’s office for Judea and Samaria.
After the meeting,
Levinger sent a notice to the press saying the civil administration had
confirmed the authenticity of the sale.
However, the civil administration
still had not authorized it, he said.
In Hebron, all such sales must be
approved by the administration.
Since Thursday, Border Police have
blocked off the building and only the families who moved in and politicians have
been allowed access. Edelstein visited the families on Saturday night and Kadima
MK Otniel Schneller came on Sunday morning.
On the outskirts of Beit El,
30 families in stone apartment buildings are lobbying the prime minister to urge
the state not to make good on its pledge to destroy their homes by May
The Ulpana outpost was first established in 1995 with NIS 4.5 million
from the Construction and Housing Ministry, but without the proper permits. Its
residents said the property was purchased from Palestinians. Property owners
were able to obtain state grants and bank mortgages to construct their
But the state has classified the land as belonging to private
Palestinians and has rejected the Ulpana residents’ claim.
night, they held an emergency meeting on the matter, after which they
distributed a short video to the media with quotes from 30 parliamentarians
calling for their homes to be legalized.
Migron residents have similarly
contested the state’s classification of their land. Their outpost, located in
the Binyamin region near Jerusalem, was similarly built with NIS 4.3 million
from the Construction and Housing Ministry. The government has offered them the
option to relocate
their homes to state land two kilometers away.
the ministers expected to take part in the meeting of the ministerial ad hoc
committee are Barak, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Justice Minister
Yaakov Neeman and Ministerwithout- Portfolio Bennie Begin – who brokered a deal
with Migron settlers that was later shot down by the Supreme Court.Herb
Keinon contributed on this report.