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Daily Israel Report

Faction Heads Press Netanyahu on Outposts

Six faction heads, representing a majority of the Knesset, have called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to save threatened towns.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 11/7/2011, 7:54 PM

Ulpana Neighborhood, Beit El
Ulpana Neighborhood, Beit El
Flash 90

The heads of six parliamentary factions in the Knesset on Monday sent a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entitled "Saving the towns and neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria from destruction."

The faction heads, who represent a majority of lawmakers in the Knesset, called for Netanyahu to set up a legal team with the mandate to find "creative solutions allowing all communities and neighborhoods to remain in place."

"We urge you to ensure the mandate of the team will allow it to succeed, and to find solutions in relation to all outstanding issues," wrote the MKs.

The letter, initiated by National Union faction chairman, MK Uri Ariel, was also signed by heads of the parliamentary groups of the Likud, Israel Beiteinu, the Jewish Home, Shas, United Torah Judaism and National Union.

The letter comes on the same day Netanyahu told his Likud faction – which is overwhelmingly against the destruction of threatened neighborhoods – they should abandon communities and neighborhoods with standing demolition orders against them in favor of party unity.

Last week, Netanyahu drew fire when he sought to appoint former IDF Judge Advocate General Avichai Mandelbilt at the head of a committee to be tasked with reviewing land ownership for disputed parcels of land where structures face demolition.

Mandelbilt, during his tenure, oversaw the execution of policies that restricted Jewish land ownership and facilitated demolition orders in Judea and Samaria. The policies, laid down by Mandelbilt's patron, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, have been broadly criticized as both partisan and discriminatory.

Also drawing fire was Netanyahu's acquiescence to Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's demand that his proposed committee not be allowed to review communities where Israel's High Court has already ordered demolitions take place.

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court's ruling, which caused outrage in nationalist circles, ruled all disputed parcels of land in Judea and Samaria not registered as state land were  'Arab land.' by default. The High Court also refused to review evidence of land-ownership pursuant to the parcels - leading critics to charge the court was issuing an ideological ruling under the guise of law.