Ya’alon: Unjust to destroy Ulpana outpost homes

Speaking at Ness Ziona cultural event Vice premier says a solution must be found to save the 30 Ulpana outpost homes.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
It would be unjust to destroy 30 Ulpana outpost homes and a solution must be found to save them, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud) said Saturday at a cultural event in Ness Ziona.
Last week, the High Court of Justice ordered the state to take down five apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost, each of which house six families, by July 1. According to the court, the homes, which are located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement in the West Bank, were built without permits on private Palestinian property.
On Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a meeting on the matter with Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Independence), Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin (Likud), Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu), Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) and Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, as well as representatives of the IDF’s Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.
No conclusions were reached in the meeting. A number of parliamentarians plan to ask the Knesset this week to approve legislation that would authorize the homes.
Netanyahu has not stated his opinion on the matter, but it is believed that he would give parliamentarians in his coalition the freedom to vote their conscience on the matter.
Although the bills were inspired by the problem facing the Ulpana homes, they deal with the larger issue of unauthorized outposts.
The bills must pass a preliminary reading, be turned over to a committee, and then returned to the Knesset for three more votes.
If the plenum passes the bills and they survive judicial challenges, the legislation would transform dozens of fledgling hilltop communities into new legal settlements under Israeli law.
In cases like Ulpana, where the outposts are located on private Palestinian property, the legislation calls for the landowners to be compensated.
The bills have yet to be placed on the Knesset schedule for this week, according to the spokesman for Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. But politicians have said that they could be debated either on Monday or Wednesday. At a ministerial meeting on Friday, questions were raised as to the legality of such legislation.
On Saturday night, Ya’alon said his issue was with the state and not the High Court of Justice. The court, he said, made its decision based on information, which it obtained from the state.
He differentiated the issue of Ulpana from that of other outposts. Ya’alon said that Ulpana was a neighborhood of Beit El, which was constructed with the initial consent of the government.
“If it was destroyed, it would be a great injustice to the people living there,” he said. “A solution must be found.”