Marc Israel Sellem
Netanyahu: Law would hurt settlements
Marc Israel Sellem

PM faces off against Yishai, Lieberman over Ulpana

Netanyahu's support of Ulpana evacuation leads to unrest in the coalition, with Shas head Eli Yishai and FM Avigdor Lieberman announcing they will support settlement regulation bill. Netanyahu fires back: The law will hurt the settlements

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took additional hits from the Right on Monday over the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.


Shas head Eli Yishai and Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor Lieberman announced that they would support the settlement regulation bill, to which Netanyahu responded that the law would hurt the settlements.


If passed, the bill would retroactively legalize Ulpana and other Jewish outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank.


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"The law could achieve the opposite of its intended effect, causing both the evacuation of the neighborhood and harm to the settlements," Netanyahu argued.


"We have proposed solutions that would strengthen settlements," the prime minister added.


Signs urging support for the Settlement Arrangement Law. (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) 


Netanyahu spoke during a Likud faction meeting, saying "We as a government respect the rule of law and shore up the settlements. There is no contradiction in terms there. Even if the High Court ruling is hard for some people, we need to honor it."


"Today I met with two families from the Ulpana neighborhood – the salt of the earth, a commander in the paratroopers and still an officer in the reserves, two teachers and a little girl named Ahava (love)," Netanyahu said.


"לא באנו בשקיקה לנושא הזה". גבעת האולפנה (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

Ulpana neighborhod (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)


Yishai said in the Shas faction meeting that "after meeting with Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the Shas faction has decided to support the law."


Lieberman said earlier Monday at a conference in Eilat that "we think that it is better to find a solution and not create a crisis. But if we can't find any reasonable arrangement, we will vote in favor of the settlement regulation bill. I support the prime minister's position that if a home in the West Bank is evacuated, 10 other homes will be built to strengthen the message that settlement in the West Bank can't be stopped by such tricks."


Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin also supports the settlement regulation bill. "This is a matter of conscience of the top priority," Rivlin said at a meeting of the Knesset leadership. The speaker also announced that the bill would be brought before the Knesset plenum for a vote on Wednesday.


"The debate is expected to be stormy and difficult, but we will insist that protocol be observed, and will not allow feelings to carry us away… the decision made will be binding for all of us," Rivlin continued.


Rivlin said he would support the bill only if no other solution were found, and added that "The law must accommodate justice; a wrong can't be righted by another wrong."


During the Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu spoke of his reasons for opposing the ratification of the bill, which aims to circumvent a High Court ruling that calls for the removal of the Ulpana neighborhood.


The PM said, "There was massive international (condemnation) of (Israeli) construction in Judea and Samaria – and we withstood it admirably. Defending the settlements in the international arena is difficult, and I suggest that we do not disregard the International Court of Justice in The Hague."


Netanyahu said the government must implement the High Court ruling on Ulpana.


Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the meeting, "We do not have to prove that we support the settlement enterprise. The numbers speak for themselves." The minister said he plans to oppose the settlement regulation bill.


MK Tzipi Hotovely told her fellow Likud members "this is not a battle over five homes; it is a battle against the delegitimization of the settlement enterprise. Likud was burnt by the uprooting (of Jewish settlements) in Gush Katif."



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פרסום ראשון: 06.04.12, 16:22
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