Daily Israel Report

Gov’t Lawyer: Justice Favors Endangered Beit El Neighborhood

MK Yaakov Katz met with Beit El residents threatened with expulsions days after the state prosecutor said justice is on their side.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 4/1/2012, 8:02 PM

Buildings in Ulpana neighborhood
Buildings in Ulpana neighborhood
Israel news photo: Baruch Gordon

National Union chairman and Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz met Saturday night with Beit El residents threatened with expulsions days after the state prosecutor said justice is on the reisdents' side.

A court order that houses built on private land must be demolished by May 1 affects five families in the neighborhood, even though the left-wing Yesh Din movement has not been able to prove who are the rightful owners of the properties.

A similar fate looms over more than 50 families at Migron. Both communities are located in Samaria. The High Court last week rejected a government compromise that Migron residents be transferred to a new community nearby in three years' time and instead ruled that the expulsions and demolitions must be carried out by this August.

As in Migron, the Ulpana residents bought their houses on land that the developer bought from an Arab, although the actual owner of the land is in question.

Deputy Attorney-General Mike Blass told the government that his office will not defend the government if it tries to stop the demolitions, but added that he would side with the Ulpana residents if they were to petition to the High Court against the demolitions, on the grounds that they bought their houses in good faith that the purchase of the land was legal and that the government, at the time led by Ehud Barak, approved the project.

MK Katz at Saturday night’s meeting,  which also was attended by Beit El Rabbi Zalman Melamed, said, “We cannot witness another conflict that divides our nation … Are we now going to start seeing a country that destroys itself to demise?”

He added that he is sure that “the Prime Minister will decide to prevent the demolitions of the houses that were built with the support of the government."

"I have no doubt that the prime minister will make a decision that will prevent the future demotion of houses built by, and with the support of, the government,” he said.