´Destruction of Ulpana – great mistake´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Moran Azulay Published: 06.03.12, 00:02)
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Removal of contested homes to have devastating implications for
Jewish settlement, MKs warn
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu´s decision to oppose legislation
that aims to legalize West Bank settlements has drawn staunch
criticism from right-wing lawmakers, who vowed on Saturday to pursue
the ratification bill more aggressively.
The legislation proposes to bypass a High Court of Justice ruling
that calls for the removal of homes located in Ulpana, a neighborhood
built on contested land in the West Bank settlement of Beit El. If
passed, the bill would assert that an owner who fails to challenge
illegal construction on his land within four years, essentially
forgoes his right to do so.
Coalition Chairman Zeev Elkin (Likud) announced that the Knesset
plenum will vote on the bill on Wednesday.
Voicing rare disapproval of the prime minister, Elkin accused
Netanyahu of "blatant violation of his commitment to his voters."
He noted that the razing of the homes could set a dangerous precedent
that could affect thousands of homes, and called on lawmakers to
prevent the "terrible injustice" from happening.
"The forceful destruction of the Ulpana neighborhood is great
mistake," he said.
A senior IDF officer said that the army is anticipating the
evacuation to cause unrest.
"These kinds of events drain much of our energy," he said.
´Evacuation is wrong´
Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who proposed the law
but agreed to put it on hold in order to allow Netanyahu time to find
an alternative solution, joined Elkin in condemning the prime
"The thought of evacuating (Ulpana) is fundamentally wrong," he said,
noting that his proposal legalizes 9,000 homes built on contested
land in several outposts, including Amona and Givat Asaf.
Earlier Saturday, Netanyahu expressed his intention to shift the five
homes that are set to be razed by July 1 to another location, and
suggested that 50 new houses are to be built in their stead across
the West Bank.
Orlev called on the government´s ministers to reject Netanyahu´s
solution and threatened that his faction will quit the Coalition if
the bill isn´t passed.
National Union Chairman MK Yaakov Katz reiterated the concern that
the prime minister´s decision could have harsh implications for other
West Bank outposts, warning of a "domino effect" that might lead to
the displacement of tens of thousands of Jews.
"We´re talking about the expulsion of 70,000 of Jews, the
obliteration of entire communities, (a territory) ten times bigger
than Gush Katif – a mega-disengagement," he said.
Minister Michael Eitan (Likud), on the other hand, stood by
Netanyahu, saying that Orlev´s bill will be detrimental to Israeli
interests and will eventually be stricken down by the court.
"The prime minister and the government don´t want to hurt the
settlements and the settlers, but they must abide by the High Court´s
ruling and to preserve the rule of law," he said.
´Terrible clashes with IDF will erupt´
Meanwhile, Ulpana´s residents warned Netanyahu of the repercussions
and said they felt cheated after the prime minister ordered to freeze
preparations for an evacuation.
"The prime minister himself said this was something the people cannot
withstand and he doesn´t mean to keep to it either," said Didi
Dickstein. "I fear of the terrible consequences this could have,
there will be a clash. Though we love the country, there will be a
terrible clash between ourselves and the soldiers," he said.
Ulpana neighborhood spokesman Harel Cohen said, "The Ehud Barak
government put us here 12 years ago, giving us incentives, grants,
mortgages, roads, pavements and infrastructure.
"The Ulpana neighborhood will not be moved even if it was made of
lego, just as the Akirov and Assuta towers won´t be moved," he said,
referring to the defense minister´s luxury Tel Aviv residence.
"Everyone understands that this is the beginning of the struggle for
the future of the entire settlement," said Yoel Patel.
"A second case of Amona is certainly possible. We feel cheated,
Netanyahu said he was freezing the preparations and ended up doing
The residents are planning to spend the next four weeks before the
scheduled evacuation protesting with the support of rightist MKs. "On
Monday, we shall all march towards the Knesset for three days,
including women and children," said Dickstein.
Itamar Fleishman contributed to this report Attila Somfalvi
contributed to the report (Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet
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