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JPost Sources: PM wants to relocate Ulpana outpost

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  • Paul
    JPost Sun, Jun 3, 2012 The Jerusalem Post Sources: PM wants to relocate Ulpana outpost By TOVAH LAZAROFF, LAHAV HARKOV LAST UPDATED: 06/02/2012 23:04
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2012
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      JPost Sun, Jun 3, 2012
      The Jerusalem Post

      Sources: PM wants to relocate Ulpana outpost
      By TOVAH LAZAROFF, LAHAV HARKOV
      LAST UPDATED: 06/02/2012 23:04
      Netanyahu waiting for stamp of approval from A-G for the move, which
      would see 5 stone structures in Ulpana physically moved.

      http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=272434


      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to relocate five unauthorized
      apartment buildings in the Ulpana outpost to land that has been
      authorized for housing in the Beit El settlement, sources close to him
      told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.

      Over the weekend, Netanyahu held a number of discussions on how to
      respond to a High Court of Justice mandate last month to remove the
      buildings, which house 30 families, by July 1.

      Although the buildings are permanent stone structures, it is technically
      possible to relocate them, the sources said.

      No final decision has been made, however, because Netanyahu is waiting
      for Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein to finish investigating the
      legality of this option, according to the sources.

      Ulpana residents and right-wing politicians have rejected this option
      and instead called for Netanyahu to support two Knesset outpost bills,
      which would retroactively legalize unauthorized Jewish West Bank
      construction, including the five Ulpana buildings.

      MKs Ya’acov Katz (National Union) and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi)
      plan to present these outpost bills to the Knesset on Wednesday for a
      preliminary reading.

      Netanyahu has ordered coalition members to oppose the bills. The prime
      minister has preferred not to legislate the issue because he believes it
      creates more issues than it solves.

      However, Netanyahu said over the weekend he would support the bills if
      Weinstein determines that it is not legally possible to relocate the
      Ulpana homes.

      Orlev and Katz have argued that such legislation is necessary, because
      Ulpana is only one of four outposts due to be demolished this year as
      the result of High Court petitions filed by Peace Now and Yesh Din.
      Overall, there are 9,000 Jewish West Bank homes in a similar situation,
      according to Katz.

      Both he and Orlev have argued that if Ulpana homes are destroyed,
      left-wing groups can continue to petition the court against these homes.

      Netanyahu has asked the Attorney-General to look for a legal global
      solution to prevent further petitions.

      “I will not allow this sort of litigation to weaken the settlements. For
      every house that is destroyed, I will build 10,” Netanyahu said.

      Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that it was possible to relocate the
      structures to an authorized part of Beit El.

      Additionally, he said, it is possible to build scores of other homes there.

      Professional experts continue to deal with preparations to relocate the
      homes, Barak said.

      In a statement to the media, Ulpana residents said that when Barak was
      prime minister his government had sent them to live there by providing
      monetary incentives, grants, mortgages and funds for infrastructure.

      “Just like homes in the free world are not destroyed for statutory and
      bureaucratic problems with the status of the land, so to Ulpana won’t be
      destroyed,” they said.

      Both Labor Party leader MK Shelly Yechimovitch and Meretz Party leader
      Zahav Gal-On said they supported the relocation plan but attacked
      Netanyahu’s statement about building ten times as many settler homes.

      “It is childish and excessive,” she said. She added that it causes
      unnecessary harm to Israel’s image abroad, particularly coming after
      last week’s achievement of returning the bodies of terrorists to the
      Palestinian Authority, she said.

      Gal-On added, “It rewards the lawless behavior of the settlers and
      encourages other offenses.”

      She warned that it would also deal a death blow to the peace process and
      lead to a single-state solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

      “It reveals the political nakedness of the unity government with
      Kadima,” she said.

      Peace Now Executive Director Yariv Oppenheimer said that Netanyahu
      didn't need to be congratulated. It should be obvious that he need to
      execute a High Court of Justice decree.

      Netanyahu's decision to seek revenge against the left, through his own
      form of a "price tag" attack by building in the settlements will only
      harm Israel, Oppenheimer said.

      Right wing politicians also attacked Netanyahu’s plan and called upon
      him to legalize the homes.

      MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) warned that destroying the Ulpana was a “serious
      mistake that violated the national camp’s obligation to the voter.

      MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, who also
      leads Kadima, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Independence) were
      pushing the coalition to the Left and destroying it from within.

      MK Uri Ariel (National Union) warned that the public would not tolerate
      the demolition of Ulpana outpost.

      "It is a ringing slap in the face to the settlement enterprise. It is
      clear proof that [Netanyahu] has adopted an extremist left wing
      platform," he said.

      Last Wednesday, five activists, including three from the Amona outpost,
      started a hunger strike to protest the pending demolitions.

      The state has promised the High Court it will demolish the Amona outpost
      by the end of this year.

      Four more people, including Katz, are expected to join the hunger strike
      on Sunday.

      On Monday activists plan to start a two-day march to Jerusalem from the
      Ulpana outpost.

      Danon has also planned a meeting of settler leaders in the Knesset on
      Monday.
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