Israeli rightist MKs to launch raft of settlement construction bills (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Jonathan Lis 04/15/12)
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Right-wing MKs are expected to introduce a number of bills supporting
construction in West Bank settlements and unauthorized outposts when
the Knesset returns from its spring recess in about two weeks.
Among anticipated legislation is a bill that would legalize Jewish
construction on privately-owned Palestinian land at Migron and other
outposts. The Knesset will hold a special session on Wednesday, when
MKs from the right will seek Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s
support for the bill.
The special session was scheduled after MK Danny Danon (Likud )
collected the signatures of 25 MKs. The effort follows a decision by
the High Court of Justice to void a compromise worked out between the
government and Migron´s residents on their relocation, as well as a
decision by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to order the evacuation of
Jews from the so-called Machpela House in Hebron.
"The High Court is trying to prevent the government from carrying out
its job," Danon said. "We are trying to prevent the eviction of Jews
from their homes and will not accept another court ruling like the
one handed down on Migron, or another eviction like Machpela House."
Instead of evicting the settlers, the proposed law would provide
compensation to Palestinian owners of land where Jewish communities
in the West Bank have built homes to dozens of families. If passed,
the legislation would be expected to legalize dozens of outposts. A
vote on the bill would only come after the Knesset reconvenes in
At that time, another bill - which would require the defense minister
to allow expanded construction in settlements to accommodate natural
population growth - is also expected to be introduced.
Another piece of legislation would set the hours of the day during
which settlers can be evicted from their homes pursuant to demolition
orders. It would bar demolitions between 6 P.M. and 8 A.M., and
require that the residents be allowed to remove their possessions.
With the prospect of possible Knesset elections in the offing, the
bills´ sponsors are expected to try to convince coalition MKs to
support the legislation, even though some of the measures have
previously been rejected by the government.
The legislation permitting settlement construction to accommodate
natural population growth is being spearheaded by Yaakov Katz
(National Union ) and would empower the housing and construction
minister to issue construction permits on an annual basis in ten
settlements, including Ma´aleh Adumim, Ariel, Modi´in Ilit and Kiryat
The bill would curb the defense minister´s authority to withhold
consent. Katz acknowledged that the bill is directed at Barak, noting
that since the expiration of the 2010 government-approved
construction freeze, Barak has failed to approve a single
construction tender. Katz introduced similar legislation recently,
but withdrew it in the face of coalition opposition. (© Copyright
2012 Ha´aretz 04/15/12)
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