PM looks for equitable solution to Ulpana outpost issue (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana, Gideon Allon and Israel Hayom Staff 05/11/12)
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Ministers Mofaz, Barak, Ya´alon and Begin attend meeting aimed at
finding compromise that would prevent demolition of illegal houses in
Beit El neighborhood • MK Zevulun Orlev to bring to Knesset next week
for approval of preliminary reading a bill which would protect
illegal structures in Judea and Samaria from being evacuated.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a special discussion on
Friday aimed at finding a compromise that would prevent the
demolition of illegal houses in Ulpana, a neighborhood in the town of
Beit El in Judea and Samaria.
The case is related to a petition submitted in 2008 by the Yesh Din
organization on behalf of an Arab resident, Abed al-Rahman, from a
neighboring village. The petition claims the land in Ulpana is
registered under his name and not under the name of his relative who
sold the land to the developer. Currently, there are two uncompleted
structures of three and four floors respectively, and three more
already have foundations.
Among the officials who attended the discussion were Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein, newly appointed Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya´alon and
Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin.
The discussion follows several previous meetings on the Ulpana
dispute in recent weeks which did not yield any concrete decisions.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu urged all sides involved in the issue
to "first stop and think" before making any decisions.
One option is to legislate a law which would, in effect, bypass the
High Court, retroactively authorize the illegal structures built in
Ulpana and determine that, if it was proven in court that the land on
which the structures were built was private and belonged to
Palestinians, the landowners would be compensated, but the structures
would not be demolished.
A bill along these lines, which may itself be adopted or serve as the
basis for another bill, was introduced recently MKs Zevulun Orlev
(New National Religious Party) and Zeev Elkin (Likud) and has been
referred to as the "Arrangement Law." According to the bill, a Jewish
neighborhood that was built on land whose legal owners did not ask
for compensation within four years of construction would be protected
from eviction or demolition. At the same time, the court may order
that the landowners be fully compensated for their land.
Orlev, who is slated to bring the bill to the Knesset next week for
approval of a preliminary reading, said on Thursday that he made the
decision to do so following reports that Netanyahu was considering
allowing ministers to vote their conscience on the bill and that many
of them would vote in favor of it. He added that in the past the
coalition´s leadership had decided to allow members to vote their
conscience on the law.
Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein also
commented on the Ulpana issue on Thursday, saying, "If this coalition
does not cause delays and does not pass the issue over to the High
Court, but resolves once and for all through legislation the
important issues regarding settlements in Judea and Samaria -- this
Earlier this week, the High Court criticized the state for its
attempt to postpone the evacuation of buildings in Ulpana, despite a
Supreme Court ruling from last year instructing the state to demolish
the five structures in question, saying they were built on private
Chief Justice Asher Grunis and Justices Salim Joubran and Uzi
Vogelman on Sunday morning heard the state´s request to reconsider
the court´s previous ruling about the structures in the Ulpana
neighborhood. Last Friday, the state had asked the court to re-
examine its decision, citing the challenges the move is likely to
present Beit El residents.
Sunday´s hearing came after the Supreme Court ruled last September
that the state had to demolish illegal structures in Ulpana, by May
1, if the residents did not demolish them themselves by that date.
The state requested the hearing in an effort to reconsider law
enforcement in the region and to take into consideration political,
public and operational concerns, according to Army Radio.
At the hearing, Vogelman blasted the state´s request to postpone the
evacuation by three months, saying, "There is a court ruling on this
issue. I don´t understand the legal framework for this request. This
means that after every court ruling, the government can request to
reopen the case at a later time."
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