'Gov't will fall if Ulpana outpost is destroyed'

Vice Premier Ya’alon warns against demolition of 30 homes; Barak says ‘Feiglinism’ has taken over the Likud.

Moshe Ya’alon serious with Likud sign 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Moshe Ya’alon serious with Likud sign 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) warned on Saturday that the coalition would fall apart if the government made good on its pledge to demolish 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost, adjacent to the Beit El settlement, at the end of the month.
He was among a number of ministers who spoke out strongly over the weekend in favor of the outpost. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) visited the families there on Friday morning.
Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat as well as MKs Ofir Akunis, Ze’ev Elkin, Tzipi Hotovely, Miri Regev, Danny Danon, Yariv Levin, Carmel Shama-Hacohen and Tzion Pinyan, all from the Likud, are expected to attend a meeting at Ulpana on Sunday evening along with hundreds of Likud central committee members.
Sunday’s event was organized by the Ulpana neighborhood residents task force – which includes Harel Kohen, a parliamentary assistant for National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz – as well as Moshe Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit group, and the National Camp in the Likud.
Likud sources said other ministers had planned to attend the event, but would not be able. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a meeting of his security cabinet for the same time, a move seen by some as an attempt to lower the profile of the event.
“The neighborhood may not be removed,” Ya’alon said at a lecture in Beersheba.
“Totally normal people live there, and then suddenly they’re facing complaints because a Palestinian claims the land is his.
“If the Ulpana neighborhood is evacuated, the coalition will break apart,” the minister added.
Danon said that “only a left-wing government would evacuate this neighborhood. The Likud is facing a test it cannot fail.”
According to Danon, the threat to demolish homes in Beit El crosses a red line for pro-settlement Likud members, and will not be tolerated.
On Friday, Yisrael Katz called on the government to amend it policy of removing unauthorized homes constructed, like those in Ulpana, on private Palestinian property.
When the government set that policy, it did not fully understand the implications, he said.
Residents of Beit El told Katz that the land was purchased from its Palestinian owners more than a decade ago, but that the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria had warned the buyers against registering it because it would endanger the lives of the Palestinian sellers. The Palestinian Authority imposes a death sentence on Palestinians who sell property to Jews.
Although the state gave the Ulpana residents grants and banks issued them mortgages to build their homes, the state continues to classify the property as belonging to private Palestinians.
With the help of Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, the Palestinian claimants turned to the High Court of Justice. The state subsequently promised the court it would remove the homes by the end of the month.
Although the prime minister has said that he is seeking a solution that will allow the homes to remain, the state has yet to come up with a proposal or to turn to the court to ask for an extension.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud) also campaigned for the Ulpana neighborhood to be saved, on both Channel 2’s Meet the Press and a Saturday afternoon lecture in Kfar Saba.
“To destroy these homes now is unreasonable, wrong and dangerous,” he said, explaining that, while he does not believe outposts should be built on private Palestinian land, this principle cannot be implemented retroactively by uprooting people from their homes.
The education minister said he disagrees with Ya’alon, in that the government will not fall; rather, it will find a solution and save the Ulpana neighborhood.
A number of Likud ministers, including Katz and Ya’alon, have lashed out at Defense Minister Ehud Barak and accused him of wanting to move against Ulpana for political gain.
Ya’alon said that Barak has “a different political agenda than the government. Unfortunately, [his ministry] is responsible for settlements in Judea and Samaria.”
According to Ya’alon, the defense minister has used unnecessary force to evacuate settlers, to “make sure the Left understands who its leader is,” and so that Barak’s Independence party will pass the 2 percent threshold to make it into the Knesset in the next election.
Barak’s office responded to Ya’alon’s barbs on Saturday night, saying that the vice premier has a serious case of “Feiglinism,” a reference to Feiglin’s Manhigut Yehudit.
“Feiglinism is not good for the country, its security, its future, or the public in general,” Barak quipped. “I hope, for the public’s sake, that Feiglinism is not contagious.”