Cabinet expected to authorize 3 new settlements (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF, GIL HOFFMAN 04/18/12)
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The cabinet is expected to recognize this coming Sunday the
unauthorized West Bank outposts of Bruchin, Rehalim and Sansana as
three new settlements, political sources said today.
It would be the first time in 13 years that the cabinet has approved
any new West Bank settlement.
The international community believes that such an act violates
Israel’s pledge to refrain from establishing new settlements. Israeli
officials, however, have said that this pledge does not include
already existing unauthorized communities.
All three outposts were created on state land – Rehalim in 1991,
Sansana in 1997 and Bruchin in 1999. The government never authorized
them as legal settlements by the government.
According to political sources, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
told the Likud Ministerial Committee on Tuesday of the pending vote
on the three outposts.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not confirm or deny the information.
The bulk of what was described as a “stormy” Likud ministerial
meeting Tuesday, however, dealt with the problem of outposts
constructed on land the state classified as belonging to private
The state has promised the High Court of Justice that by the end of
the month it would demolish 30 apartment units in the Ulpana outpost,
which is located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement.
Before Passover, Netanyahu said he would ask Attorney-General Yehuda
Weinstein to find a legal solution to prevent the outpost’s
demolition, given that it was built on land the state classified as
belonging to Palestinians.
Weinstein is expected to present information about possible legal
options for the Ulpana outpost to a forum of eight ministers in the
near future, according to political sources.
A smaller forum of ministers, including Minister-without-Portfolio
Bennie Begin (Likud) and Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon (Likud), is due
to meet Wednesday to discuss the matter.
The Knesset will also hold a special session on Wednesday on the
larger issue of outposts on private Palestinian property, but no
action will be taken.
Ministers are concerned about the absence of a solution so close to
the demolition deadline for Ulpana.
They have called on Netanyahu to support legislation that
retroactively legalizes outposts on private Palestinian property,
such as Ulpana, under certain circumstances.
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar first raised the issue of Ulpana and
called for the matter to be solved through legislation. Ministers
Silvan Shalom, Yuli Edelstein, Yisrael Katz and Yuval Steinitz also
voiced their support.
To date Netanyahu has rejected such legislative attempts, and has
preferred to seek other routes to resolve the issue. According to
sources at Tuesday’s ministerial meeting, Netanyahu said he would not
allow for the community to be destroyed.
Shalom said that to prevent such an evacuation, “We need to back
[legislation] because it is fair and there is no other solution.” He
told Netanyahu, “Stop saying ‘no.’ Start saying ‘yes.’ We need to
lead the banner of settlement and not get dragged behind Israel
Beiteinu, Shas and other parties,” he said.
According to sources in the meeting, Begin and Intelligence Agencies
Minister Dan Meridor said they did not believe that the matter should
be legislated, adding that the legal issues involved were prohibitive.
Edelstein said “We are all in favor of finding a solution without
legislation as quickly as possible but if there is no other solution
we have to legislate because destruction is out of the question.”
In separate developments, the ministers urged Netanyahu to intervene
on the Hebron settler house, called Beit Hamachpela, which the IDF
evacuated earlier this month because it lacked the proper permits.
The cabinet is researching the legal issues behind the property
transaction of the three-story structure to Jewish settlers from
Hebron and nearby Kiryat Arba.
It was the first cabinet meeting since the evacuation of Beit
Some of the ministers called on Netanyahu to relieve Defense Minister
Ehud Barak of the power to solely decide on the evacuation of Jewish
homes in Judea and Samaria and to transfer that power instead to the
hands of a ministerial committee.
Katz accused Barak of evacuating the Hebron home for political
Netanyahu told them that it was not right to blame Barak and that in
this matter, the Justice Ministry was the determining factor. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/18/12)
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