State Control Cmte. debates 'Ulpana bill'

Ahead of vote on settlements regulation bill, committee hears from settlers, State. Bill expected to fail Wednesday's vote despite settlers 'email blitz' vis-à-vis Likud ministers

The Knesset's State Control Committee convened Tuesday to discuss the settlement regulation bill, meant to resolve the dispute over several homes in Ulpana, a neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.


The committee aims to allow both the State and representatives of the Right and the settlers to have their say prior to the vote.


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The bill, which aims to circumvent a High Court of Justice ruling ordering the neighborhood's eviction, will be presented to the House on Wednesday. It is expected to fail the vote.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed adamant objection to the bill and has presented an alternative plan, by which the homes will be relocated several hundreds yards away, effectively placing them within a military zone in Beit El.


The plan is pending Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's approval.


שכונת גבעת האולפנה בבית אל (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

Ulpana neighborhod (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg) 


Residents of Ulpana vehemently opposed the move and have taken several protest measures including erecting a protest tent outside the High Court in Jerusalem and staging a blitz of emails, text messages and phone calls to Likud Knesset members, urging them to back legislation.


Ulpana resident Reut Lerrer, shared with the committee the uncertainty of the settlers everyday life: "We wake up to different news every day… we’re being treated like puppets. What are we supposed to tell out children?"


MK Ya'akov Katz (National Union) lashed out at MK Benny Begin (Likud), saying that his party's handling of the settlers was "malicious and evil. You will tear the national union apart. You will cause a gaping wound in Israeli society.


"This government is on the wrong path and this will be its downfall. Up until today I considered you mu friend. After today, we can no longer be friends," he said.


MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) added that the High Court did not even try to deal with the issue of land ownership prior to rendering its ruling.


"The court simply sided with the State, which said 'if this is private land than we should raze (the homes). I have to wonder about the State's position, but this is why we're here – to see whether there is a chance the State will go back to court and inform it that it had a change of heart."


MK Israel Eichler (United Torah Judaism) warned that "When the State relinquishes its power to the Prosecution's clerks the High Court judges, it goes against democracy.


"Imagine if the government would turn over the power to the military – we would call that a dictatorship!"



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פרסום ראשון: 06.05.12, 10:52
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