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Danon, Ketzaleh Give Bright Forecast for Yesha Towns

MKs Danny Danon and Yaakov Katz say they are encouraged by coalition moves on behalf of Yesha's threatened towns.
By Gavriel Queenann& Yoni K
First Publish: 11/9/2011, 6:02 PM

Likud lawmaker Danny Danon joined MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) for a tour of Beit El's threatened Ulpana Neighborhood.

"Today I am here to tell the people who live here, the real pioneers, that the Likud is supporting the Jewish communities," Danon, a strong proponent of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, said.

"Last week, we pressured the Prime Minister to be very strong, and to be very sure they do not send bulldozers to destroy these neighborhoods," Danon said. "And I am very happy to report that the response of the State to the Supreme Court is very clear, that we requested a delay."

"As a Likud government we need to do whatever is needed to ensure we continue to build in Judea and Samaria - and especially not to destroy," Danon said. I do not want to see pictures of Jews coming to these neighborhoods and pulling families [from their homes]."

"This is not the Likud way. Maybe it is the Kadima way or the Labor way, but it is definitely not the Likud way," he added. "I will continue to put pressure on the Prime Minister not to follow Barak's way... but to follow the path of the Likud."

Last week 20 of Likud's 27 lawmakers confronted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over his governments seeming acquiescence to a High Court ruling that all land not owned by the state in Judea and Samaria was presumptively 'Arab land' - thereby upholding demolition orders in Jewish communities where land disputes were extant.

The ruling, which caused outrage among nationalist Israelis, lead critics to accuse the high court of playing partisan politics due to its refusal to examine evidence that ran contrary to its decision. Critics say, while Israel's High Court does not normally examine evidence, it should have ordered a lower court to do so as the matter is of national consequence.

MK Yariv Levin (Likud) went so far as to warn Netanyahu - who asked his party to abandon the threatened communities - that a failure to find creative ways of normalizing disputed communities could split the Likud and bring down his government.

Danon also took issue with the stance of Israel's courts and state attorney's that demolition was the only recourse in such cases, “You can pay compensation to the side that you feel should get compensation. Or you can allocate land somewhere else.”

“You don't destroy homes of Bedouins who live in the Megev. You don't destroy the homes of Jews where the land is disputed - as is the case in Judea and Samaria. The people who live here are citizens of the state of Israel. They are not second class citizens and they should not be treated like second class citizens."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak – a proponent of following through on the demolition orders – on Tuesday was forced to file a petition pleading for more time while the government formulates its position, and proposals, for how to deal with neighborhoods.

The request came amid heated discussions between his bureau, the Attorney General, and the Prime Minister's Office – which is now seeking to form a committee to review evidence of land ownership and to normalize the status of towns facing demolition orders.

MK Katz said, "Thank g-d the government is standing with us today by telling the Supreme Court the problems will be solved. Beit El... We knew from the beginning it would be no problem. But we are talking about other settlements and neighborhoods like Givat Assaf, Migron, and Amona... and other places like Shilo and Ofra."

"We have told the Likud it is a national problem and it has to be solved, and it looks to me like the coalition, and even big parts of the opposition, understand we are on the way to solving the problems so that we can say to the Jewish in America, in Egnland, in other places around the world that the time to come and make aliyah to eretz Israel,” Katz added.