PM says 'outpost bills' would harm settlements

Netanyahu says bills seeking to retroactively legalize outposts would be struck down; Barak: We must respect High Court.

Our prime minister speaks at cabinet meeting 370 (photo credit: Pool)
Our prime minister speaks at cabinet meeting 370
(photo credit: Pool)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday said that bills being raised in the Knesset to legalize the Ulpana outpost and other similar West Bank outposts would actually harm the settlement enterprise. Right-wing activists have called on ministers to prevent the evacuation of the Ulpana outpost, ordered by the High Court to be carried out by July 1, by supporting two bills – by MKs Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) – that would retroactively legalize unauthorized West Bank Jewish outposts. "The bills would ultimately lead to the evacuation of the outpost," Netanyahu said. "In addition, the bills would be struck down in the Supreme Court and would also harm Israel's standing within the international community." The prime minister also said that his government is for both the rule of law and settlements, and added the he doesn't view the two as mutually exclusive. Referring to the Ulpana outpost, Netanyahu said: "Even though the High Court decision is difficult for some to accept, we must must respect it." The prime minister added that he had met with two of the families from Ulpana, calling them the "salt of the earth." Defense Minister Ehud Barak voiced agreement with Netanyahu, saying that the "outpost bills" would lead Israel into a confrontation with the international community. Speaking at a meeting of his Independence faction, Barak said that the High Court decision to evacuate the Ulpana outpost must be respected. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said that he would support the "outpost bil"' if another solution is not found by the time it is brought to a vote on Wednesday. “The law must be just, and an injustice should not be fixed by another injustice,” Rivlin stated. The Knesset Speaker predicted a lively, intense debate on the legislation in the plenum, adding that he and his deputies will adhere strictly to protocol and not let emotions take over.
Shas leader Eli Yishai and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman both stated that they would support the "outpost bills," while Kadima head Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz came out against the bills.