Right-wing MKs to PM: Support outpost legislation

Livnat says "The state has a moral responsibility toward the residents that it encouraged and sent to live [in Ulpana]."

Apartments in Ulpana oupost in danger of being evacuated  (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Apartments in Ulpana oupost in danger of being evacuated
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Monday’s High Court of Justice decision to demolish 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost in the West Bank came as parliamentarians gathered to debate a bill dissolving the 18th Knesset.
Approval of the bill would send the Knesset almost immediately into recess until after the September 4 elections.
Right-wing politicians responded to the ruling by calling on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to support Knesset legislation that could prevent the razing of the five apartment buildings in which the 30 families live.
In the past year, Netanyahu has consistently rejected all parliamentary attempts to pass such legislation.
Unless the Knesset dissolution is delayed, it is unlikely that such legislation could be passed in time to prevent razing of the buildings, located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement.
A special session could be called to vote on the legislation, but such an event would be highly unusual.
“The state has a moral responsibility toward the residents that it encouraged and sent to live there,” said Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat (Likud).
“This is the wrong decision and it is one that the public cannot live with,” said Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud).
“The government must quickly enact legislation that will prevent the home demolitions and allow Ulpana residents to stay in their homes,” Katz said.
Within minutes of the court’s announcement, both right-wing and left-wing politicians had turned Ulpana into a game of political football.
“It is clear to anyone that the prime minister decisively failed to defend the settlements. It is a Gordian knot of his own making. He could fix it with legislation whose passage he has physically prevented,” said MK Uri Ariel (National Union).
He called on Netanyahu to hold a special session to pass such a law.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) blamed the court and not his party for the decision, which he noted ran counter to the will of his party.
“The court’s surrender to the extreme Left, damages [the execution] of the people’s will, which chose to place the Likud in power so that it could develop and build Judea and Samaria,” he said.
“It is the elected officials, the Likud-led government, which should determine these issues and not the Supreme Court justices, which represent their own individual opinions and not the will of the people,” Danon said.
The Labor party spoke out in defense of the decision.
The High Court of Justice has determined in a very clear way that the government must stop evading its obligations.
There is no alternative for respect for the rule of law, the Labor party said, adding that political tricks won’t help and that the court’s order should be executed and not evaded.
Meretz party head MK Zehava Gal-On stated, “The prime minister has been punished for his conniving exercise in which he submitted a request to cancel the [initial] ruling [to demolish the Ulpana homes by May 1] two days before the final date for its implementation.”
Now, Gal-On said, Netanyahu will be “forced to evict the settlers in the midst of an election campaign.”
The High Court of Justice ruling Monday came in response to a state request to be released from its initial promise to take down the homes by May 1.
The state also asked the court to reopen the legal case against the Ulpana homes and to allow it 60 days to reassess its outpost policy. The court rejected both requests.
Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard said that the state had made a mistake by asking the court to reopen a closed case.
In so doing, he said, it greatly expanded the implications of any judicial judgment on the Ulpana outpost from one that dealt strictly with the structures, to one that could impact the authority of the court itself.
“Once the state filed the unprecedented request to cancel a final and binding ruling, the question of the case became much broader than the issue of the five apartments in the Ulpana outpost and became a battle over the law-abiding nature of Israeli society,” Sfard said.
But The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel slammed the ruling, saying it was “inconceivable that the High Court ignored the rights of citizens who bought apartments in good faith.”
“It’s obvious that if it were a residential neighborhood of Umm el-Fahm, the justices would have found a way not to destroy the homes of innocent citizens,” said the organization’s attorney Yossi Fuchs.