Right wing urges ministers to support outpost bill

A list of politicians call on MKs to ignore PM, legalize Ulpana outpost.

MK Yaacov Katz temple mount 311 (photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
MK Yaacov Katz temple mount 311
(photo credit: Yaakov Lappin)
Right wing politicians called on ministers late Saturday night to ignore Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wishes and to approve legislation to legalize unauthorized West Bank Jewish construction, including five-apartment building in Ulpana outpost.
Netanyahu opposes the legislation, nicknamed the outpost bills.
But MKs Ya'acov Katz (National Union) and Zevulun Orlev (HaBayit HaYehudi) plan to propose two laws to that effect for a preliminary reading before the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.
"There is no doubt that anyone who fears for the fate of Zionism and the nation of Israel, and who does not want to be a partner to its destruction, will vote on Wednesday for the bills which will pass by a great majority," Katz said.
He and Orlev hope that passage of the outpost bills would avert a High Court of Justice mandate to demolish the structures by July 1.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is weighing a plan to relocate the structures located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement, which is home to 30 families.
But Katz and Orlev have rejected that option, because they fear that left wing organizations would continue to petition the court against homes like those in the Ulpana built without proper permits on private Palestinian property.
Orlev said, "If the bills do not pass we can expect a Tsunami of petitions by Peace Now to the High Court of Justice that could cause the evacuation of thousands of Judea and Samaria residents from their homes." "We're talking about a domino effect that could impact 9,000 homes," Katz said. "This is one fifth of the homes in Judea and Samaria," he said.
Katz added that it would be ten times larger than the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.
To date, however, Netanyahu has opposed legislation and ordered his ministers not to support the legislation. Ministers risk losing their posts if they ignore Netanyahu’s voting instructions.
Without ministerial support the legislation is unlikely to pass.
Government Services Minister Michael Eitan said on Saturday night that he planned to oppose the bills.
"A strong settlement enterprise is one that maintains the law,” Eitan said. “The prime minister knows that outpost legislation won't help. It will harm Israel internationally and the court will invalidate it. It is better to honestly said that this medicine is not any good, than to deceive the patient into believing that this treatment could save him,” Eitan said.
Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin and Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor have said they oppose the outpost bills.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said he would vote for the bill even if it would lead Netanyahu to fire him.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz said the same at the end of May, but will be abroad on Wednesday.
Two Likud member groups, the Nationalist Camp in the Likud and My Likud, took out a fullpage advertisement the Makor Rishon newspaper, with quotes from ministers saying they will support the outpost bill.
In it, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar said, “We must legalize the neighborhood through legislation,” and Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat said, “The outpost bill is a moral imperative for the state.”
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said the outpost bill should be passed as soon as possible, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said outposts should be legalized via the Knesset, and Vice Premier Silvan Shalom and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the outpost bill is the only solution.
Likud ministers have complained that not only will they have to vote against their conscience, but that non-minister MKs will have an advantage in the next primary because they will be able to vote in favor of saving outposts.
While they are less concerned about a primary, other parties’ ministers are also debating how to vote on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman has said several times that his party supports legislation to legalize the outposts. He is expected to decide how his faction should vote on Monday.
Shas also favors the bill, but party chairman and Interior Minister Eli Yishai is less willing to clash with Netanyahu than Liberman.
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Herschkowitz and Habayit Hayehudi’s two other MKs plan to vote in favor of the outpost bill.