Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has asked his ministers to think again about the legal consequences of Monday’s Supreme Court decision that the settlement outpost, ‘Ulpanah’, close to the settlement of Beit El, should be removed, and within 60 days. ‘Ulpanah’ was built on private Palestinian land.
Israeli daily ‘Haaretz’ reported today that although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed bills on Ulpana because of the attorney general’s opposition, on Tuesday he discussed the matter with several ministers and has backtracked, asking them to ‘think’ about it.
On Monday, the High Court of Justice gave the government 60 days to demolish houses in the Ulpana neighborhood. But in a surprise move early the next day, Netanyahu added Shaul Mofaz’s Kadima party to his governing coalition which adds uncertainty to the government position.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein vehemently opposes legislation as a way to solve the illegal outposts crisis. He was reluctant to request the High Court to further postpone the demolition of the neighborhood but capitulated and submitted a request, In response the High Court insisted that the Ulpanah neighborhood be demolished by July 1.
Bills from the right on the matter have proposed that if the government built unknowingly on private Palestinian land the owners would be compensated with land or cash. These bills would also set limits to avoid a massive takeover of Palestinian land.
In the meantime, the Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz declared during a visit to the settlers in Beit El that the decision of the government was wrong, that the demolition of these houses is unreasonable, and that he will work to change this situation even if the consequence is to change the existing law.
Steinitz added that he has no intention of clashing with the legal system but that the High Court’s decision was absurd. ‘My friends and I will spare no effort to find a legal and just solution, and change the legal status if there’s no other choice,’ he said. ‘Demolishing the neighborhood is illogical and immoral.’