JPost Sources: PM wants to relocate Ulpana outpost
- 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.
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
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
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 Monday activists plan to start a two-day march to Jerusalem from the
Danon has also planned a meeting of settler leaders in the Knesset on