The government might support a new bill on Sunday proposing to legalize Jewish outposts in the West Bank. According to the bill, signed by 20 Knesset members, if a land owner in the West Bank has not appealed to the court against the construction of a new residential neighborhood on his land within four years – the structures on that land will not be demolished.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is expected to discuss the bill on Sunday. It was initially presented by MK Zeev Elkin, chairman of the Likud faction, MK Faina Kirshenbaum (Yisrael Beiteinu),
MK Danny Danon (Likud),
MK Carmel Shama (Likud), MK Nissim Zeev (Shas),
MK Yitzhak Vaknin (Shas), MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi),
MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Yisrael Eichler (United Torah Judaism).
This controversial bill only applies to construction in the West Bank and only to neighborhoods with at least 20 housing units.
Havat Gilad outpost (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The bill also determines that the court may instruct to financially compensate those who claim ownership of the land or of nearby property.
The Knesset members behind the bill wrote that "in the past few years a number of petitions have been filed in Israel by public organizations fighting against Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and their interest was to destroy communities or neighborhoods they claimed were built of private land. The Justice Ministry and Supreme Court believe the only way to deal with these situations is to demolish the buildings."
"This bill is intended to prevent more homes from being destroyed if the plaintiff claiming ownership of the land hasn't appealed to the authorized court and hasn't proved his ownership - as customary - in the four years since the settlement was built. This bill is only relevant to settlements of no less than 20 families," the Knesset members wrote.
Opposition Chairwoman Tzipi Livni
slammed the bill, saying that it "sends a strong message to those who throw rocks at IDF troops that force is effective."
Livni added that the proposal indicates the coalition's attempt to force its policies on "the law-abiding Zionist majority."
Legal officials estimated that Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein would oppose the bill.
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report