Liberman: Gov’t must pass law to protect Ulpana

FM dissatisfied with Likud suggestions to replace Tal Law, was privy to unity coalition negotiations.

FM Liberman speaks during Yisrael Beitenu meeting_311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
FM Liberman speaks during Yisrael Beitenu meeting_311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
The government must pass a law to circumvent the High Court of Justice’s decision to tear down 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said on Wednesday at a press conference in the Knesset.
He also expressed doubts about Kadima and Likud’s planned alternative to the “Tal Law.”
These two issues are the most important tests of the new coalition’s worth, the foreign minister said as he spoke with reporters in Jerusalem.
“The residents living on the Ulpana Hill are law-abiding citizens and fulfill all their obligations: They serve in the IDF and do reserve duty, they work and pay taxes,” Liberman explained. “This is not an illegal outpost; it is the government’s mistake.”
Last week, the state asked the High Court to release it from having to destroy the outpost and to reopen the case against the homes, built on land classified by the state as private Palestinian property. There is new evidence that brings the designation into question, and a lower court is adjudicating the land-ownership issue in a civil suit.
However, on Monday, the High Court rejected the state’s request, ruling that the homes must be demolished by July 1.
According to the foreign minister, the state must take responsibility and pass a law to circumvent the court’s decision, because it sent Ulpana residents to the outskirts of Beit El to build their homes. The best way for the government to fix its mistake is to pass a law that will legalize the Ulpana neighborhood.
“If we take down the Ulpana [outpost], next month there will be a new Ulpana,” he stated.
Liberman said the outpost will not test Yisrael Beytenu, which has consistently opposed its demolition; rather it will be a test of the government and the coalition.
In the past year, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently rejected legislative attempts to authorize the outpost and others like it. The High Court has similarly ordered the state to evict 50 families from the Migron outpost by August 1. The state has also told the court it would remove 25 families from the Givat Assaf outpost by July 1.
In light of Monday’s court ruling on the Ulpana outpost, the only lawful option left to avert the court decree is through legislation.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Netanyahu said he was studying the matter.
Likud politicians are hopeful that he will now press forward on the legislation.
In reference to the Tal Law, Liberman said he has heard several proposals, and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin’s (Likud) is unacceptable.
Liberman demanded a “serious proposal,” saying he does not want to be presented with one “after the fact” of its approval.
“I do not need to hear about proposals from journalists in the Knesset. I expect to get the information from the coalition chairman, if he has such a proposal,” the foreign minister added.
On Tuesday, Likud sources told The Jerusalem Post that the coalition’s universal service bill will not include a maximum number of yeshiva students exempt from the IDF each year. Rather, it will have a minimum number of haredim serving, which will increase annually.
“Yisrael Beytenu is not going to fight for credit, but we want to see a comprehensive, serious bill,” Liberman explained, adding that his party will support any legislation that requires equal service for all.
As for the new coalition, Liberman said he was privy to every detail of the negotiations before its formation, although he was in Germany when it was announced.
“There is no reason for this government not to fill all its days,” he stated. “We did not propose a bill to dissolve the Knesset, and we do not want an early election. Israeli citizens gained from this deal, and nothing else is interesting.”
At the same time, the Yisrael Beytenu leader said that if there was an election in September, he would be prepared. However, he added, October 22, 2013, is the best date for Israel.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.