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(photo credit: Haim Tzach)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday that he would not allow the outpost homes of two slain IDF majors to be destroyed.
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“We have common sense. I won’t allow the destruction of the homes of these heroes that sacrificed their lives for the security of Israel,” Netanyahu said at a Tel Aviv conference of industrialists.
He added that he had an emotional meeting with the widows of the two slain officers, Ro’i Klein and Eliraz Peretz, earlier in the year.
Already on Wednesday night, Netanyahu delayed the state’s anticipated response to the High Court of Justice on the matter of the homes in the Hayovel outpost next to the Eli settlement.
The court had expected to receive from the state a report on its findings regarding the status of 18 outpost homes, 12 in Hayovel and six in Haresha, possibly as early as Thursday.
Peace Now petitioned the High Court of Justice to halt construction of these homes in 2005. At the time, it was concerned that the homes lacked authorization and that civil administration injunctions to halt work on the structures had been ignored.
Since then, concern arose as to whether some of the homes in Hayovel were built on private Palestinian land. During the legal proceedings, all the homes were completed and populated.
In the summer of 2006, Hayovel outpost resident Klein was killed when he threw himself on a hand grenade to save his soldiers during the Second Lebanon War.
In March 2010, Peretz, a second Hayovel resident, was killed in a firefight with Palestinian terrorists near the Gaza border.
On Wednesday night, Netanyahu met with the attorney- general and they agreed to delay the state’s response.
Netanyahu emphasized that he opposed the demolition of the Klein and Peretz homes, and that he would seek to find a legal way to save them.
The residents of Eli have long claimed that the outpost is part of their settlement. It was created in 1998 with the help of NIS 2.7 million from the Construction and Housing Ministry.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak is also looking for a solution that would save the homes. One proposal is to move the homes to an area in Judea and Samaria that is authorized for construction.
Another possibility would be to authorize the outpost, and move the homes to an area of the outpost that is state land and not private Palestinian land.
A group of MKs including Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud), Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Arye Eldad (National Union) and Yulia Shamalov Berkovich (Kadima) will present a bill to the Ministerial Committee for Legislation next week that would seek to prevent the two houses from being demolished.
The legislation would require that any demolition of a lived-in house in the West Bank receive the permission of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.