Thousands protest in Jerusalem as Knesset shoots down Givat Ulpana bill (TIMES OF ISRAEL) By GABE FISHER 06/06/12)
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Five people were arrested on Wednesday as thousands of right-wing
activists burned tires at the entrance to Jerusalem in protest
against the Knesset’s rejection of a bill that would have regularized
unapproved settlements and saved five buildings in the Givat Ulpana
outpost from demolition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had opposed the bill and instead
proposed an alternative plan to build additional housing units in
Beit El proper in exchange for the five buildings slated to be
The bill was defeated in a raucous Knesset session, with 69 opposed
and 22 in favor, with 29 abstentions.
The buildings in Givat Ulpana are slated for destruction on July 1 by
order of the High Court of Justice, after it was determined they were
built on private Palestinian land.
MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) said in his arguments for the bill
that the issue was broader than the five Ulpana buildings. He noted
that the date, June 6, was the same date the Sharon government
decided to clear out Gaza’s Gush Katif settlements.
“Do you really think this is about five buildings? If the prime
minister wants to build more buildings in Beit El, why does it need
to be linked to the buildings in Givat Ulpana?” Orlev asked. “Is this
how we build a state?”
Orlev reiterated his intention to leave the coalition government
given the bill’s failure to pass, along with 11 other Religious
Zionist members of Netanyahu’s government.
In his arguments on behalf of the government, MK Benny Begin (Likud)
said that the state was not giving up the Jewish people’s right to
the land, but that the High Court decision must be respected. He
noted that the settler movement was now entering its third generation.
Despite earlier statements that they would support the bill, MKs Gila
Gamliel (Likud), Ayoub Kara (Likud) and Daniel Hershkowitz (Jewish
Home) all abstained. All three hold ministerial positions, and
Netanyahu had threatened to remove from their posts any ministers who
voted for the bill.
Eight Likud MKs defied the prime minister’s instructions and voted in
support of the bill: Carmel Shama-HaCohen, Ofir Akunis, Zeev Elkin,
Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, Chaim Katz, Yariv Levin and Miri Regev.
MKs supporting the bill met with reporters Wednesday morning and
criticized the prime minister and the Likud ministers opposing the
“It’s a puppet vote,” MK Hotovely said, adding that many of those
opposed to the bill did so out of “disingenuous considerations” and
because of threats by the prime minister to fire any minister who
voted in favor of it. Hotovely voted for the bill.
“The Knesset must allow the freedom of voting for ministers — the
government must not be a puppet government,” she added. (© 2012 THE
TIMES OF ISRAEL 06/06/12)
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