Landau: Legalize outpost where war hero's family lives

Says the government had invested money in building the area that consists of 17 homes and some 30 caravans.

Roi Klein 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Roi Klein 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beiteinu) has called on the government to legalize the Hayovel outpost, which is home to the widow and two children of Golani Brigade hero Roi Klein, killed during the Second Lebanon War when he threw himself on a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers. Klein's home, along with 11 others, are under threat of demolition as a result of a High Court of Justice petition filed by Peace Now. The organization has asked the state to make good on the demolitions orders it issued against the homes, which were illegally constructed. The High Court has asked the state to hold hearings with the residents as a preliminary step toward their evacuation. But on Tuesday, as he toured the outpost, Landau said that the government's actions in support of the outpost when it was first constructed in 1998 was tantamount to its legalization. "This is a place where previous governments directed people to come [live] and gave them incentives to come [here]," said Landau, as he stood on the steps of a grey stucco home, with a sloping lawn. According to the Sasson Report regarding the outposts, compiled by Talia Sasson, former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department, the Construction and Housing Ministry spent NIS 2.75 million on the area, which she classifies as an outpost, but which Eli considers to be an outlying legal neighborhood within the settlement's boundaries. Located within the area of the Binyamin Regional Council, Eli is home to close to 3,000 people. Landau reminded reporters who spoke with him that the government had invested money in building the area which they now saw before them, that consists of 17 homes and some 30 caravans. All that needs to happen here is for the Defense Ministry to issue a permit, Landau said. He lashed out at the Attorney-General's Office for not siding with the outpost residents and accused it of having a clear political agenda. "The impression is that the Attorney-General's Office does not care about human rights," said Landau. It's problematic, he said, "To come and tell people that because of a lack of a permit they should pull down the houses." When asked whether Israel should cave in to American pressure to freeze settlement activity or to halt construction in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem, he said, "We do not have to necessarily say no, we have to clarify what our basic interests are and stand by them." Israel's position was not clear even to its friends in America, Landau said. He is not the only politician visiting the outpost. On Thursday a sub-group of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee plans to go there as well. Peace Now has argued that the issue is a simple matter of law. The homes lacked the proper authorization and the Civil Administration issued demolition orders against them, which should be carried out. But Tamar Asraf, whose home is under threat of being torn down, said that the issue was not whether the homes were built with permits, but when they were built. The remaining five homes and the caravans at the site have the same legal status as the homes slated for demolition, she said. The only difference is that they already existed when Peace Now filed its suit. She noted that if her home were torn down, the houses across the street from her and the caravans in back of her would still remain on the site. The Hayovel outpost is not part of the 23 outposts built after March 2001 slated for demolition, as part of Israel's commitment to America.