Photo: Gil Yohanan

'Ulpana to serve as unity government's first test'

Controversy over impending eviction, razing of contested Beit El neighborhood to become new, extended Coalition's first true obstacle

The controversy over the impending eviction of Ulpana, a neighborhood built on contested land in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, is likely to become the new unity government's first test, political analysts ventured Wednesday.


On Monday, the High Court denied the State's petition to review the case and postpone the area's evacuation, imposing a July 1 deadline for its razing.


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In his ruling, Chief Justice Asher Grunis admonished the State, saying that "It is in the State's proceedings vis-à-vis the High Court that its commitment to upholding the principles of law, is measured."


The decision enraged the Right, with several Likud ministers urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pursue legislation that would circumvent the court's ruling.


Ulpana (Photo: Lowshot) 


While Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz reached various ideological agreements as part of the unity government agreement – most notably regarding an alternative to Tal Law and a change in the system of government – the two parties are divided on Ulpana.


The Likud is adamant that a solution must be found to prevent the neighborhood's eviction, while Kadima insists that the High Court's ruling in the matter be upheld in full.


"I believe in the Rule of Law in Israel and we will devise a solution accordingly," Mofaz said on Tuesday.


"This is a serious situation and we are giving it serious thought," Netanyahu added.


Netanyahu is expected to call several meetings on the matter in the coming days, with top ministers, security officials and Justice Ministry officials.


Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein has voiced his objection to any form of by-pass legislation, but Netanyahu is likely to explore that option regardless.


Still, the prime minister's associates said Wednesday that Netanyahu's "final decision on the matter will be made only after all the alternatives are reviewed."


'Coalition unstable'

Meanwhile, many in the Likud expressed concern that the coalition, which numbers an unprecedented 94 Knesset members, is far from stable.


Likud sources told Ynet that top party members do not believe Kadima will truly survive Mofaz's decision to join Netanyahu's government.


Should Kadima experience a split, Likud sources said it is likely those leaving it will join forces with former party chairwoman Tzipi Livni in a new political party.


Should Livni choose to form a new party under the new political reality, the move will likely deal an electoral blow to both Labor and Yair Lapid's party.


Kadima itself is still reeling from its chairman's political zigzagging: Party sources told Ynet that hundreds of registered Kadima voters informed the party's secretariat that they wish to revoke their membership.


Shaul Mofaz will be sworn in as a minister later on Wednesday. Labor Chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich will then be sworn in as head of the Opposition.


Itamar Fleishman and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 05.09.12, 08:33
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