Gov´t set to approve new ministerial settlement c´tee (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 06/15/12)
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The government on Sunday is set to approve the establishment of a
committee on West Bank settlements that would remove the issue from
the purview of the full cabinet and place it in the hands of 11
It will deal with issues of policy, construction authorizations and
demolitions, including the creation of new Jewish communities in
Judea and Samaria.
Creating the committee would amend a 1996 governmental decision,
#150, taken during Binyamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister.
According to decision 150 the creation of new West Bank settlements
must have the approval of the full cabinet.
An official cautioned on Thursday that just because the committee had
the power to authorize new settlements, does not mean that it would
The creation of the ministerial committee would, however, leave
intact a portion of the 1996 decision, which states that the defense
minister’s approval is required to allocate land or okay planning
decisions for West Bank settlements.
The new committee would have the authority to formulate government
policy with respect to unauthorized construction, both on state land
and on private Palestinian property.
It would also formulate the principles and policy by which the state
would respond to petitions to the High Court of Justice on land
issues in the West Bank.
Committee decision would carry the weight of a cabinet vote.
Ministers would not be able to appeal them.
The creation of the committee is a direct response to politicians who
have longed wanted such a body.
Still, it fails to address one of their main demands, that Defense
Minister Ehud Barak be stripped of his power with respect to the
Many right-wing politicians and activists blame their frustrations
with respect to Netanyahu’s settlement policy on Barak.
It remains unclear if the committee would try to change the
government’s policy that unauthorized Jewish construction on private
Palestinian property must be removed.
The state based its response to the High Court petitions with regard
to unauthorized outposts on this policy. Decisions by the court to
mandate the demolition of Ulpana outpost by July 1 and Migron by
August 1 were based in part on this policy.
Earlier this month, politicians tried to change the policy by
bringing a private member’s bill to the Knesset plenum to
retroactively legalize Jewish construction on private Palestinian
property under certain conditions.
Netanyahu blocked the legislation but promised that he would create a
ministerial settlement committee.
Netanyahu will head the panel. Other members will include Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Premiers
Shaul Mofaz and Moshe Ya’alon, Minister-without- Portfolio Bennie
Begin, Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein, Environment Minister
Gilad Erdan, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, Interior Minister Eli
Yishai and Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz. (©
1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/15/12)
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