'Netanyahu to evacuate Ulpana outpost, build in Beit El'

PM agrees to evacuate homes in Ulpana in accordance with High Court ruling, but will build 50 homes in nearby settlement, Channel 2 reports; PM: For every home we are forced to evacuate, we will build 10 in its place.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has agreed to the evacuation of homes in the Ulpana outpost, in accordance with a ruling made by the High Court of Justice last month, Channel 2 reported Saturday.
The High Court ruled that the five stone structures housing 30 families in the West Bank outpost must be evacuated by the end of June because they were built on what the court deems private Palestinian land. The government had previously sought to delay action on Ulpana, and set up a special ministerial meeting to discuss the fate of homes. Right-wing members of Netanyahu's coalition have urged the prime minister to pass a law to retroactively legalize West Bank outposts, a move that would effectively nullify the High Court ruling to evacuate the Ulpana homes.
As part of Netanyahu's decision, the government will reimburse and relocate the settlers. The homes themselves will not be demolished, according the the Channel 2 report, but will rather be detached from their infrastructure and physically moved to a nearby settlement. In addition, Netanyahu will allow 50 homes to be built in Beit El - 10 times the number of homes being evacuated in Ulpana, Channel 2 reported.
"The settlement enterprise will be advanced through building," Channel 2 quoted Netanyahu as saying. "For every home we are forced to evacuate, we will build 10 in its place."
The prime minister came out against MKs calling for legislation that would legalize the settlements, calling the solution unhelpful and saying that it would harm Israel's standing within the international community.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On congratulated the prime minister on his decision, stating that she hoped his intentions would be carried out. Gal-On, however, criticized Netanyahu's alleged desire to build 50 new structures in the Beit El settlement in place of those being evacuated in Ulpana.
"Netanyahu's promise to increase building in Beit El grants a reward to law-breaking settlers in the territories and encourages committing more crimes. The prime minister is applying a death blow to the peace process, leading to the establishment of one state, and exposing the unity government for what it really is," Gal-On stated.
The prime minister faced criticism from within his own party, as Likud MK Danny Danon repeated calls to legalize the outpost, blaming Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz for pulling the coalition to the left.
"Pass the outpost bill before it is too late," Danon said, referring to the bill that would retroactively legalize West Bank outposts, which is scheduled to come up for a preliminary vote in the Knesset on Wednesday. "Mofaz and Barak are taking the coalition left and hurting the settlement enterprise from within."
Danon said that he planned to convene a meeting of settlement representatives in the Knesset on Monday to discuss the developments.