Knesset to hold reading of outpost bill (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 05/23/12)
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The Knesset is poised to hold a preliminary reading of an outpost
bill which would legalize many unauthorized West Bank Jewish homes in
both outposts and settlements.
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, National Union Party leader Ya’acov Katz,
who proposed the bill, and MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) met
Tuesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has opposed
efforts to legislate the issue of unauthorized Jewish building in the
Netanyahu has, however, agreed to allow coalition MKs to vote their
conscience Wednesday. He has not offered that option to ministers or
deputy ministers who risk losing their post if they vote in favor of
Orlev, who had initially planned to bring a similar bill to the
Knesset, decided late Tuesday night to pull his legislation and wait
one more week, because he feared it lacked a majority.
Once a bill fails to pass a preliminary reading, legislators must
wait six months before bringing it back to the plenum for a vote. It
is assumed that the outpost bills can only pass if some of the
ministers and deputy ministers break coalition discipline.
Katz, however, believes he does have the votes and that some of the
ministers will risk Netanyahu’s wrath and vote in favor of the bill.
The timing here is critical because the High Court of Justice has
ordered the state to demolish by July 1 five apartment buildings in
the Ulpana outpost, located on the outskirts of the Beit El
settlement, and to evacuate by August 1 the entire Migron outpost,
which is home to 50 families. In addition, the state has told the
court it will take down the Mitzpe Assaf outpost by July 1, which is
home to 25 families.
All three outposts in the Binyamin region were constructed without
the proper permits on land which the state classified as private
However, in all three cases, the Ministry of Construction and Housing
spent money on infrastructure; for Ulpana NIS 4.5 million, Migron NIS
4.3 million and Mitzpe Asaf NIS 600,000.
There are dozens of other outposts and hundreds of other unauthorized
homes in West Bank settlements that were similarly constructed with
initial nods of approval, but for whom final permits were never
Katz’s legislation, if it passes, would legalize those homes and
outposts. In cases where the homes and outposts were built on private
Palestinian property the legislation offers to compensate the
The High Court of Justice has intervened in the issue at the request
of Peace Now and Yesh Din, which petitioned the court and asked that
it force the state to execute the law with respect to unauthorized
Settlers and right-wing politicians fear that if the state is forced
to evacuate both Ulpana and Migron, these two organizations will
continue to attack the issue of unauthorized Jewish West Bank
building in a piece meal fashion, one home or one outpost at a time.
They therefore have sought a global solution. For Ulpana and Migron,
legislation remains the only possible options, which could save these
two outposts. Authorization of Migron, Mizpe Assaf and any other
independent outpost, would transform those communities into new
legally recognized settlements.
The international community, which wants Israel to remove the
outposts, believes such a move breaks Israel’s pledge not to create
new settlements. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/23/12)
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