Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo; David Vaaknin
Amid the uproar surrounding an evacuation order of Jewish settlers from the disputed Machpelah house in Hebron, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to prevent the razing of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and legalize three other settlements, Ynet reported Wednesday.
Following a late night meeting on Tuesday between Netanyahu and ministers Ehud Barak, Benny Begin and Moshe Ya'alon it was decided that the Jewish settlers who took up residence at the Machpelah house in Hebron would be evacuated from the premises by April 26 if it is proven they had moved into the house illegally.
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During a special cabinet meeting held Wednesday morning, Netanyahu said he has asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to find a way to save the unauthorized Ulpana outpost from a Supreme Court demolition order. Five apartment buildings are to be razed by May 1.
The Bruchin settlement (Photo: David Vaaknin)
The PM added that, following the recommendations of Defense Minister Barak, he also plans to ask the government to legalize the status of three settlements – Bruchin, Sansana, and Rachalim.
The special cabinet meeting was called to discuss civil service reductions to finance the gas tax cut, which did not prevent gas prices from reaching an all-time high of NIS 8 per liter. Netanyahu said he was aware of the need to curb gas prices so that Israelis could travel during the Passover holiday.
"The Israeli government does not control fuel prices, and this is a very volatile market. We're seeing a steady rise in the fuel prices because of the sanctions against Iran," he said.
"My government is trying to find ways to ease the rise in the price of gasoline to help Israel's people. As usual, there is no free lunch, and the government must cover the gap created by the reduction in the price of fuel to avoid breaching the budget."
AP contributed to the report