Dayan joins hunger strike against Ulpana removal

Katz declares PM's compromise idea for Ulpana outpost in shambles; officials remind Likud MKs to "keep their promise."

Yesha chair Danny Dayan, Student Union head Itzik Shmuli 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Yesha chair Danny Dayan, Student Union head Itzik Shmuli 311
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan announced Monday that he is joining four settlers who started a hunger strike last week to try to convince the government to back off from its current policy of removing illegal outposts such as the Ulpana outpost near Beit El.
MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's "compromise" plan for resolving the Ulpana controversy had crashed overnight completely.
He added that Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein had vetoed Netanyahu's plan to move the Ulpana structures and was opposed to approving any new homes in the Beit El vicinity. Katz said that Weinstein was only interested in destroying settler homes.
He also noted that Weinstein was not putting forward any solution for preventing future petitions from being filed to evacuate outposts.
Declaring that the prime minister's proposal was in shambles, he said that Netanyahu must let ministers vote their conscience on a Knesset bill that would allow retroactive legalizing of the Ulpana outpost and others throughout the West Bank, or at least ignoring High Court rulings to dismantle them.
MK Aryeh Eldad added that Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat told him that there are hundreds of demolition orders targeting illegal Palestinian homes which the diplomatic level will not let him carry out.
He added that, "All we want is for the politicians to be able to vote according to their conscience. The prime minister himself called destroying Ulpana an evil decree which the public cannot accept. I advise him not to put the public in a place in which they will have to act in a way people act" in response to such an evil decree.
Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel said that the prime minister is at the "moment of truth." He added that the Likud must remain loyal to the people who voted for the party." He also noted that he expected "all the ministers who personally promised me to vote for the bill to keep their promise."
Yehuda Yifrach, the settler who started the hunger strike idea, said that Netanyahu is "held captive by the extreme Left and the Attorney-General's Office."
But Yifrach said that despite those pressures, the fight to save the Ulpana was gaining strength. He added that, "We are calling on the Likud MKs to show leadership and vote for the bill, which is the only fair and just solution."
Rabbi Yair Frank, another one of the hunger strikers said that the Attorney-General's Office has a clear political agenda and that the political level is dragged behind it. He called upon Weinstein to go back to the High Court and "get a different answer" regarding removing the Ulpana.
Ultimately, though he affirmed that the only thing that will solve the problem is a bill which would allow the Knesset to actively or passively insulate the Ulpana and other outposts from court demolition orders.
Gil Hoffman and Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.