Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his aides Saturday to devise a legal solution that will thwart the pending eviction of settlers residing in the Ulpana neighborhood, in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.
Netanyahu's position on the matter contradicts those put forward by the Judiciary and the defense establishment, which stated that the land on which the settlers' housing units were built is "unfit for housing."
- 'Ulpana's eviction may topple government' PM: Legalize status of 3 settlements
- Likud blasts Barak over WB policy
The High Court ordered the Ulpana neighborhood to be be evicted by May 1. Senior defense sources said Saturday that "the defense establishment's position on the matter has not changed and neither has the reality on the ground.
"There are 30 housing units there, which pose the greatest problem because they were built on land unfit for residences."
Earlier Saturday Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon warned that the ramifications of Ulpana's eviction may destabilize the Coalition to the point of the government's collapse.
Ulpana neighborhood (Photo: Harel Cohen)
Likud sources told Ynet that the State is likely to present the court with a revised position on the contested neighborhood, which will allow it to "buy time" and delay the settlers' eviction.
"The prime minister is seeking a legal alternative to avoid the settlers' evacuation," a source familiar with the matter said.
Netanyahu himself commented last week on the issue of settlement evacuations, saying it was "a decree the public cannot withstand."
Several Coalition members have criticized what they called the government's "failures in dealing with the Ulpana situation," further stressing the matter's impact on the Coalition's future, as well as the possibility that the general elections would be moved up.
A senior Likud minister told Ynet that "There is no such decision at the moment, but the option is there. Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu would like to see it happen and while Netanyahu hasn't ruled on the matter, it's possible that there will be no other choice, considering all the issues at hand."
Both Ya'alon and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz blasted Defense Minister Ehud Barak for trying to "gain political capital at the expense of the settlers."
A Defense Ministry statement said that "Both Ya'alon and Katz seem to have contracted a severe case of 'Feiglinism' which is bad for Israel's security, stability and future."
Stretching the reference to Likud hardliner Moshe Feiglin even further, the statement added that "We hope – for the good of the public and its elected officials – that this 'Feiglinism' does not turn out to be contagious."
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop