Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to relocate five unauthorized
apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost to land that has been
authorized for housing in the Beit El settlement, sources close to him
told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.
Over the weekend,
Netanyahu held a number of discussions on how to respond to a High Court
of Justice mandate last month to remove the buildings, which house 30
families, by July 1.
According to the court the homes were built without permits on private Palestinian property.
Although the buildings are permanent stone structures, it is technically possible to relocate them, the sources said.
final decision has been made, however, because Netanyahu is waiting for
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to finish investigating the legality
of this option, according to the sources.
Ulpana residents and
right-wing politicians have rejected this option and instead called for
Netanyahu to support two Knesset outpost bills, which would
retroactively legalize unauthorized Jewish West Bank construction,
including the five Ulpana buildings.
MKs Ya’acov Katz (National
Union) and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) plan to present these
outpost bills to the Knesset on Wednesday for a preliminary reading.
has ordered coalition members to oppose the bills. The prime minister
has preferred not to legislate the issue because he believes it creates
more issues than it solves.
However, Netanyahu said over the
weekend he would support the bills if Weinstein determines that it is
not legally possible to relocate the Ulpana homes.
Orlev and Katz
have argued that such legislation is necessary, because Ulpana is only
one of four outposts due to be demolished this year as the result of
High Court petitions filed by Peace Now and Yesh Din. Overall, there are
9,000 Jewish West Bank homes in a similar situation, according to Katz.
he and Orlev have argued that if Ulpana homes are destroyed, left-wing
groups can continue to petition the court against these homes.
Netanyahu has asked the Attorney-General to look for a legal global solution to prevent further petitions.
will not allow this sort of litigation to weaken the settlements. For
every house that is destroyed, I will build 10,” Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that it was possible to relocate the structures to an authorized part of Beit El.
Additionally, he said, it is possible to build scores of other homes there.
Professional experts continue to deal with preparations to relocate the homes, Barak said.
a statement to the media, Ulpana residents said that when Barak was
prime minister his government had sent them to live there by providing
monetary incentives, grants, mortgages and funds for infrastructure.
like homes in the free world are not destroyed for statutory and
bureaucratic problems with the status of the land, so to Ulpana won’t be
destroyed,” they said.
Both Labor Party leader MK Shelly
Yechimovitch and Meretz Party leader Zahav Gal-On said they supported
the relocation plan but attacked Netanyahu’s statement about building
ten times as many settler homes.
“It is childish and excessive,”
she said. She added that it causes unnecessary harm to Israel’s image
abroad, particularly coming after last week’s achievement of returning
the bodies of terrorists to the Palestinian Authority, she said.
Gal-On added, “It rewards the lawless behavior of the settlers and encourages other offenses.”
warned that it would also deal a death blow to the peace process and
lead to a single-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
“It reveals the political nakedness of the unity government with Kadima,” she said.
Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that Netanyahu didn't
need to be congratulated. It should be obvious that he need to execute a
High Court of Justice decree.
Netanyahu's decision to seek
revenge against the left, through his own form of a "price tag" attack
by building in the settlements will only harm Israel, Oppenheimer said.
Right wing politicians also attacked Netanyahu’s plan and called upon him to legalize the homes.
Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) warned that destroying the Ulpana was a “serious
mistake that violated the national camp’s obligation to the voter.
Danny Danon (Likud) said that Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, who also leads
Kadima, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Independence) were pushing the
coalition to the Left and destroying it from within.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) warned that the public would not tolerate the demolition of Ulpana outpost.
is a ringing slap in the face to the settlement enterprise. It is clear
proof that [Netanyahu] has adopted an extremist left wing platform," he
Last Wednesday, five activists, including three from the
Amona outpost, started a hunger strike to protest the pending
The state has promised the High Court it will demolish the Amona outpost by the end of this year.
Four more people, including Katz, are expected to join the hunger strike on Sunday.
On Monday activists plan to start a two-day march to Jerusalem from the Ulpana outpost.
Danon has also planned a meeting of settler leaders in the Knesset on Monday.