For each settlement evacuated, new construction promised (ISRAEL HAYOM) Shlomo Cesana, Gideon Allon, Mati Tuchfeld and Efrat Forsher 06/03/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposes relocating disputed Ulpana
homes to state-owned land in Beit El, while building 10 new homes for
each one that is moved • Decision awaits attorney-general’s approval.
As the controversy continues over whether to evacuate disputed homes
in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu on Sunday said that his government´s policy was to
strengthen the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria while
adhering to the rule of law.
Israel´s High Court of Justice ruled earlier this year that five
structures, housing about 30 families, were built on privately owned
Palestinian land and must be evacuated by July 1.
Speaking at the Likud faction meeting Sunday morning, and reiterating
a proposal he floated over the weekend, Netanyahu said the problem
could be solved using a two-pronged approach: Rather than destroy the
disputed homes, they should be removed and relocated to nearby state-
owned land in Beit El, and for every structure that is moved 10 more
will be built so that a precedent is not set in which petitions to
remove houses in Judea and Samaria weakens the settlement enterprise.
Netanyahu was awaiting word from Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein
about the legality of his proposed move, which could come as early as
Sunday. He told his Likud colleagues that if this plan received
proper authorization in coming days, "we´ll be in good shape."
Referring to the so-called High Court bypass bill, also known as
the "outpost arrangement bill," which seeks to authorize structures
built on private land retroactively if the owner does not claim the
land within four years of the buildings´ construction, Netanyahu
said, "It is always possible to resolve this through legislation, but
that comes with a price, including in the international arena." That
bill is scheduled to go up for a vote in the Knesset this Wednesday.
According to Israel Radio, Netanyahu told his Likud colleagues that
the cost of relocating the homes would be far less than some of the
figures that have been reported, and would likely cost less than 10
million shekels. He also said the construction of 10 housing units
for each home that was evacuated would enable 1,000 more residents to
live in Beit El, and would deter opponents of settlements from
petitioning the court.
Netanyahu´s proposal has drawn fierce criticism from hawkish members
of the coalition and other right-wing politicians and settler
leaders, who have urged him not to evacuate the homes. Coalition
Chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said removing the homes would set a
bad precedent that could lead to the destruction of thousands of
homes in Judea and Samaria, according to Israel Radio.
"Netanyahu´s decision is a serious mistake which violates his
promises to those who voted for the nationalist faction," Elkin said
Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon (Likud) said he intended to call
an emergency meeting with settlement representatives in the Knesset
on Monday to discuss the matter. He said Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz
and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were “taking the coalition to the
Left and harming the settlement enterprise from within."
MK Zvulun Orlev (New National Religious Party) said, "The destruction
of the homes and evacuation of the neighborhood is out of the
question. Therefore, I will submit a proposal for a new law on
Danny Dayan, head of the Yesha Council, the umbrella body of Jewish
communities in Judea and Samaria, said, "The prime minister´s
proposal is not acceptable. We categorically reject it and demand
that government ministers approve the arrangements law."
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (New National
Religious Party) said he would support the outpost arrangement bill
and warned that left-wings groups like Peace Now would inundate the
court with additional petitions over outposts or settlements believed
to be built on private Palestinian land if Ulpana was evacuated and
the bill was not ratified.
Improvement of Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud)
said that ratifying the High Court bypass bill and implementing it in
Judea and Samaria would isolate Israel in the international
community, as it would affect Palestinian residents in the territory
who were not Israeli citizens and did not have the right to vote. He
told Israel Radio such a move would lead Israel´s opponents to brand
Israel an apartheid state.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Shelly Yachimovich (Labor)
said, "Netanyahu made the right decision to abide by the rule of law
regarding the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood. But the defiant
move he added, in the form of an arrogant declaration of building 10
new homes for each home that is evacuated, is childish, unnecessary
and damages Israel´s image in the eyes of the world."
Meretz leader MK Zehava Gal-On welcomed Netanyahu´s decision to
uphold the court ruling, but cautioned that his promise to build more
homes effectively rewarded settlers and encouraged them to violate
The plan to relocate the homes would be accomplished in the same way
that German Templer homes near the Kirya Defense Ministry compound in
Tel Aviv were moved in 2009, but in this case the homes would need to
be moved several hundred meters from their original location.
The cost of the project has not been disclosed, and until the work is
completed, Ulpana residents will reside in prefabricated homes in
According to a senior government official, Netanyahu said on
Saturday, "I don´t want to destroy the homes. We will fulfill the
High Court´s ruling. What will strengthen the settlement enterprise
is construction. For each home that we evacuate and relocate, we will
build 10 additional homes. We will not allow the settlement
enterprise to be harmed by lawsuits. Legal proceedings will weaken
The Defense Ministry said the Beit El settlement had enough room to
accommodate the Ulpana homes "in accordance with any arrangement
Netanyahu also said he did not agree with Barak’s assessment that if
no political solution was found for the Ulpana issue, the government
should consider a unilateral withdrawal from parts of Judea and
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