Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, as expected, has ditched a bill that would legalize dozens of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, but the bill’s sponsor vowed that it will pass one day.
The Prime Minister instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Ne’eman, chairman of the ministerial committee that is handling the bill, not to bring it up for discussion. He explained to Likud ministers that passage of the “outposts bill” could ruin the negotiations taking place between the government and the members of the Ramat Gilad community, whose members face expulsion even though their land was legally bought from Arabs.
The bill may not be dead, however, and Prime Minister Netanyahu may be trying to play on both sides of the fence.
He is ostensibly satisfying coalition partner Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli media that he is not going head-to-head against the Supreme Court, which has ordered the demolition of Jewish communities that have not gained the signature of Barak to make them legal. He also may be playing for time until there is more political calm following the outcry against “price tag” vandalism and protests against the IDF.
The bill would legalize Migron, among other communities. Officially called an outpost, it is home to more than 40 families and has become a symbol in the struggle between Peace Now, whose petitions generally have been approved by the Supreme Court, and nationalists, whose interests are supposed to be those of the Likud.
Jewish Home Knesset Member Zevulun Orlev, who sponsored the “outposts bill,” said that “on paper a majority of the committee supports the bill.” He added that he is not sure if they would have given their approval if the bill had come to a vote but expressed certainty that “the expulsion of Jewish residents will not happen in this government.”