Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is weighing the possibility of moving settler homes, illegally built in Ulpana outpost, in the West bank, as a maneuver meant to avoid the implementation of a ruling by the Israeli High Court that ordered the homes demolished by July 1st.Israel daily, Haaretz, reported that, at the initial phase, Netanyahu is considering the uprooting of five homes, installed illegally in Ulpana settlement, and placing them hundreds of meters away on lands that are dubbed by Israel as “state lands”.
Tests conducted by engineers showed that it is possible to safely relocate the five homes, but engineers of the Ministry of Defense said that moving the homes is not cost effective, and will likely not be completed before the deadline of July 1st.
Netanyahu is also hoping that for each building that is uprooted in Ulpana he would be able to convince the attorney general to approve the construction of ten new homes in a different location.
According to Haaretz, Netanyahu stated that he would rather not have legislation on the issue, taking into consideration that “legislation weakens the settlement movement in the West Bank”.
If approved, the relocating of the homes also needs the approval of the Attorney General, and needs to be conducted after reaching an agreement with the settlers in Ulpana. Haaretz said that should the attorney general refuse to approve the move, legislation will be considered in order to find a solution.
Netanyahu’s plan was met with criticism from both Israel’s right and left wing parties, as fundamentalist members of Knesset oppose dismantling settlements, or relocating the settlers, and are pushing for more constructions, while the left wing is accusing Netanyahu of killing the chances of resuming peace talks with the Palestinians.