MKs Tamir (L) and Peretz during tour
Photo: Gil Yohanan

MK Tamir to settlers: You're going against consensus

Knesset's Defense Committee tours disputed Gush Etzion neighborhood. Residents say Palestinian ownership claims false; 'we were sent here by Israeli governments,' they declare

"Through your actions you are going against the consensus," Knesset Member Yuli Tamir (Labor) said during a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's a tour of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc on Wednesday.


Tamir made the statement as the committee members were visiting the Netiv Ha'avot neighborhood. The Peace Now movement has recently filed a High Court petition on behalf of a Palestinian family claiming that construction in the neighborhood, which is home to 35 Jewish families, is being carried out on its private property.


The High Court ordered the State to respond to the petition by the end of October.


Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shaul Goldstein responded to Tamir's remark by saying that no new outpost has been erected in the area since 2003.


"We understood that the rules of the game had changed, and therefore no new outpost was set up," he said.


Committee Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima) told Ynet after the tour, "Gush Etzion is at the heart of the Israeli consensus. Left and Right are united in their demand to see Gush Etzion as an inseparable part of Israeli sovereignty in any future agreement with the Palestinians.


"There are almost no outposts here, and in any case, the outposts are a separate issue. All of Israel's governments, including the current one, decided that in accordance with the Road Map (peace initiative) Israel would dismantle all outposts that had been erected after March 2001," said Hanegbi.


A Civil Administration representative told the committee members that the land's status was still being examined to determine whether or not it is owned by the State.


"The process has not been completed as of yet. I assume that most of the land on which the outpost (Netiv Ha'avot) was established will be found to be State-owned.


The residents asked the committee members to work towards legalizing Jewish construction at the site and warned that if they are forced to leave, Palestinians would take their place and "divide" Gush Etzion.


"We are not outlaws; we were sent here by Israeli governments," Netiv Ha'avot resident Hanania Nahlieli said. "We saw a need – from an ideological and security standpoint – to build the neighborhood."


Kadima MK Otniel Schneller also called to legalize the neighborhood, and stressed that "the most important mission is to maintain the national consensus regarding Gush Etzion, which must remain an inseparable part of Israel.


"We must all stand united – rightists and leftists – in the face of the Palestinians' plan to settle the area," said the MK.


Amnon Meranda contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 09.23.09, 13:26
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