Rivlin agrees to hold Knesset session on outposts

After court ruling against Migron deal prompts outrage on Right, Rivlin says he will hold special plenum pending signatures.

Rivlin 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Rivlin 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin agreed Sunday night to hold a special plenum session on legalizing outposts constructed on private Palestinian property if he receives the necessary 25 signatures.
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom (Likud) said he supports such a move. “The last word has not been spoken on this subject,” he said.
Right-wing parliamentarians moved immediately to call for the plenum to debate the matter during the Passover break, upon hearing that the High Court of Justice had ordered the evacuation of the Migron outpost by August 1 of this year.
The outpost is built on property classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
The state had hoped to delay its evacuation until November 30, 2015, when permanent homes could be built for the outpost’s 50 families on state land located 2 km. away.
The court’s rejection of the compromise prompted parliamentarians to turn to the Knesset to legislate a solution.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected such legislative attempts in the past. The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to the latest initiative.
As of press time, however, the MKs had not yet collected enough signatures to ensure a special session.
In light of Sunday’s court ruling, however, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said, “there is no option but to advance legislation that would give Migron legal standing at its present site without any relocation or evacuation.”
Migron is not the only immediately endangered outpost located on land classified as private Palestinian property.
In separate court cases the state had promised to evacuate the outposts of Givat Assaf, Amona and the Ulpana, which are similarly classified.
Parliamentarians from the Likud, the Nation Union and Habayit Hayehudi want to push forward legislation that would authorize such outposts, and any other with the same classification.
The legislation argues that under the law of abandoned property, outposts that have been in existence for more than seven years can be reclassified as state land.
In addition, the state should compensate the Palestinian landowners for the property, according to the legislation.
MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) said that from the start it had been clear to him that the only solution to Migron was legislation.
The government should not destroy any community it helped to create, he said.
“There is no reason why Jews should be evacuated from their homes under a Likud government,” said MK Danny Danon (Likud). “We must make use of the responsibility given to us by the people to lead the nation and the settlements in Judea and Samaria according to the values of Ze’ev Jabotinsky and [former prime minister] Menachem Begin.”
A number of right-wing parliamentarians slammed the court’s decision warning that it could lead to violence and possible civil war.
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) said that “the court proved today that it preferred Arab interests over Jewish settlement even at the expense of spilling blood. If blood is spilled in Migron it will be on the heads of the court justices.”
Likud activist Moshe Feiglin warned that parliamentarians who opposed the legislation would lose his support and that of his followers in the next election.
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) said the court’s judgment clarified the irrelevance of setting a date for new elections.
“There is no need to advance the elections. We should eliminate them. Any which way it is clear that the judges believe they run the country,” he said.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel slammed the court.
“The High Court justices could have made a decision to avoid conflict in Israeli society,” said Forum director attorney Nachi Eyal. “Clearly the court thinks human rights are only for Palestinians, not for Jews.”
“What do you expect from a panel containing a justice who won’t sing Hatikva?” Eyal added, in a dig at Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who declined to sing the national anthem at Supreme Court president (emeritus) Dorit Beinisch’s retirement ceremony.
Eyal called on the Knesset to strengthen legislation to resolve land disputes in the West Bank in different ways.