Netanyahu to A-G: Save W. Bank outpost from demolition

PM tells ministers he will seek to formalize Ulpana, other outposts; announcement comes after Netanyahu, Barak postpone evacuation order of disputed Hebron home to end of April.

PM Netanyahu at the President's Residence 370 (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
PM Netanyahu at the President's Residence 370
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his ministers at a cabinet meeting Wednesday morning that he had asked Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to find a solution to the controversial Ulpana neighborhood in Bet El that will prevent the demolition of five buildings there.
He also said that in the near future he will bring recommendations, approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, that will formalize the status of three unauthorized outposts: Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim.
His comments came just hours after he decided together with Barak and a small group of ministers that the disputed home in Hebron would be evacuated by the end of April.  The timing led to speculation that the directive to Weinstein regarding the neighborhood in Bet El, and the recommendations regarding the unauthorized outposts, were compensation for the evacuation of the Hebron home.
The Ulpana neighborhood in Bet El was built from 2002 – 2008 on land purchased from Palestinians in 2000, but the paper work was later judged to be unauthentic and the structures there – which house some 30 apartments – were scheduled for demolition in April.
Already in 2005, the neighborhood was included in a report on unauthorized outposts submitted to the government by private attorney Talia Sasson.
Sasson classified it as an outpost called Pisgat Yaakov or Jabel Artis, that was first established in 1995, outside the boundaries of Beit El. She said it was built without any permits on private Palestinian property. But, she said, it did receive NIS 4.5 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing.