Homes in the Beit El settlement, West Bank .
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have guaranteed the construction of replacement homes for settlers who had been evicted as a result of High Court of Justice petitions.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) had submitted the bill to the Ministerial Legislative Committee after a campaign by residents of the Beit El settlement to sway Netanyahu to market 300 homes designed for their community located outside of Ramallah in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.
Netanyahu, however, blocked the bill, before it could come to a vote. Smotrich charged that Netanyahu had done so out of fear that ministers would pass it in spite of his opposition.
“The prime minister apparently understood that he is in the minority within his government on this matter,” Smotrich said.
“The only thing left for the prime minister was to take the undemocratic step of vetoing the bill and preventing a debate on the matter,” Smotrich said.
Netanyahu had promised he would build the homes in exchange for the peaceful evacuation in 2012 of 30 families from the Ulpana outpost on the outskirts of Beit El. The High Court had ruled that the structures were built illegally on private Palestinian property.
The 300 structures have received all their necessary permits and need only Netanyahu’s approval to market them.
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Netanyahu has promised the settlers and right-wing politicians that he would approve the homes by September.
The Beit El families have insisted that there is no reason to wait. To ensure that Netanyahu keeps to his word, Smotrich filed legislation which had initial nods of support from a number of ministers.
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