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Yaalon: Coalition Fate Tied to Beit El's Ulpana

Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon says DM Barak's private political agenda in Yesha may well bring down the government.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 4/21/2012, 8:49 PM

Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon
Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon
Flash 90

Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon on Saturday blasted Defense Minister Ehud Barak's conduct regarding Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria saying he is pursuing a private political agenda from that of the ruling government coalition.

His remarks, which echoed those of Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz on Friday, also reiterated warnings to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from other ministers that the destruction of more Jewish communities would result in "a dissolution of the coalition."

"We are a government that strictly observes the rule of law, and will not allow settlement on private land," Yaalon told Channel 2.

"We inherited a situation in which many communities were not approved in terms of planning and construction," he said, noting many such Jewish towns had been built on land that was not privately owned, or which had been abandoned for decades.

"The person responsible for it in Judea and Samaria is the Defense Minister – who is unfortunately carrying out private political agenda from the government," Yaalon said, referring to the government's policy of seeking to retroactively approve communities where previous private ownership cannot be proven.

Now "we suddenly have to deal with problems like Givat Assaf and the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, where normal people are paying mortages even as the Defense Minister and State Prosecutor seek to destroy their homes," Yaalon said.

Yaalon told Channel 2, "The demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood and Givat Assaf would demand the dissolution of the government require – the coalition would collapse."

"Unfortunately, the Defense Minister has insisted on using the Border Police to evacuate Beit Hamachpela in Hevron. Its clear the Defense Minister is pursuing the interest of his Independence Party and not those of government," Yaalon said, adding "If we reach such a serious peak of events in Givat Assaf and the Ulpana neighborhood the government will collapse."

Yaalon is one of the Likud ministers who has proposed stripping the Defense Minister of his authority in Judea and Samaria – and to replace him by a special ministerial committee tasked with making decisions in his stead.

He also – along with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin – negotiated the deal Barak violated to delay the Beit Hamachpela eviction until after Passover so that the legal facts of the case could fist be established.

Barak's Independence Party continues to poll beneath the threshold needed to be seated in the Knesset should elections be held today.