Knesset Speaker Lights Hannukiah in Threatened Home
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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) visited Beit El's threatened Ulpana neighborhood on Tuesday to light Hanukkah candles.
Rivlin was warmly received in the neighborhood by residents and their children and lit the final Hannukah lamp in a house slated for demolition in May 2012.
"I came to light on the last day of Hanukkah, to visit you, in a community the Prime Minister himself approved," Rivlin said. "We are a nation of laws, and no one is above the law. No person may sit on the land of another. But in this case the law does not go hand in hand with justice, and you do not solve one injustice by creating another injustice."
Rivlin added, "The people here are not criminals, are not thieves, and do not to deprive another of his land. They build homes at full price on behalf of the State of Israel, providing incentives and security for the country. They have lived here are over a decade."
"There was no rebellion in the Kingdom. This land was empty. Nobody paid any attention to ownership of land - including land owners themselves do not. Destruction of this neighborhood is not an acceptable to any moral human being," Rivlin said.
"I know how you have hard feelings," Rivlin said. "You are law abiding people and suddenly you find yourself accused and condemned as guilty. You came here innocently to settle this land legally. I believe there is a legal way to do justice for this place."
"It feels like there is no way out, that we must destroy the homes of the heroes of Israel, but we must find a way to do you justice," Rivlin said. "I'm sure you can build your lives here. Either we must have legislation that brings justice - or we must exhaust every other avenue that would avert this injustice - which cannot be fixed later."
Referring to the political pressures brought to bear on Israel to halt construction and destroy Jewish in Judea and Samaria, Rivlin said, "The Arab-Israeli conflict will not be solved by giving up parts of our homeland. It will only be solved by mutual understanding between the two parties."
Rivlin added, "two-state solution is essential to Israel's security. Is essential is the recognition of our right to live anywhere in Israel and she would give us confidence."
Didi Diksten, a Neighborhood resident, told Rivlin "there is a sense that the country against you, the Attorney General against you, and the court against you - and that there is no justice."
MK Yaakov "Ketzelah" Katz (National Union) expressed his gratitude for Rivlin's support. "We respect and appreciate your willingness to come here and express support for the settlements, even in legislation."
Rivlin's visit to the Ulpanah neighborhood in Beit El is a part of a series of such visits arranged by MK Katz who is seeking to build Knesset support for threatened communities in Judea and Samaria.
All of the faction heads in the ruling coalition, representing a majority of seats in the Knesset, and 20 of the 27 lawmakers in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party have lobbied him to find a way to save communities built on 'disputed land' in Judea and Samaria.
While the Prime Minister's Office has sought to find solutions for normalizing the communities, most of the proposals have faced opposition from Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Two weeks ago a deal brokered on Netanyahu's behalf by Minister without portfolio Benny Begin to save Ramat Gilad by moving it several dozen meters in exchange for recognizing it as part of Karneir Shomron was rejected by Barak – who raced to destroy the community in the night.
The crisis comes as the result of a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court that all non-state land in Judea and Samaria is presumptive 'Arab Land.' The high court refused to examine evidence to the contrary in the case brought before it because it does not deal in evidentiary questions.
Critics say the court should have referred the case to a lower court competent to evaluate evidence and claims of ownership and that refusing to do so amounted to advancing an ideological agenda under the color of law
A recent bill that would mandate monetary restitution or alternative land grants in lieu of eviction and destruction was killed in ministerial committee.
Observers say an inability to find an equitable solution that satisfies nationalists in the Likud and coalition could lead to the collapse of the Netanyahu government.