Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman took aim at the media and certain politicians Monday for “going off their rockers” over expelling Jews from five homes in the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El, located in Samaria and approximately 15 miles from Jerusalem.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, relying on a High Court ruling, has ordered that the families be expelled next month, following similar expulsions he has ordered dozens of times in several hilltop communities in Judea and Samaria and most recently in Hevron. Last month, he broke an unwritten agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to check details of the sale of a building in Hevron to Jews and instead sent in police to chase out 15 families.
Unlike the Hevron building, which by all accounts was legally purchased, the issue of the homes in Beit El, one of the largest Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, is whether the five homes were built on private Arab land.
Barak, feeling the pressure from coalition ministers favoring legislation to legalize the homes before the scheduled expulsion next month, said Sunday that the problem could be solved if the land were to be bought.
As Defense Minister, Barak has the final say on who can or cannot live in Judea and Samaria.
Lieberman pointed out that while “politicians” – meaning Barak – and the media are “going off the rails” over the Ulpana homes, they are ignoring thousands of acres of land in the Galilee used for illegally built buildings by “not very sympathetic elements,” meaning Bedouin and Arabs who often ally with anti-Israel politicians and sometimes with Hizbullah.
The Foreign Minister said the media are trying to make the Ulpana neighborhood issue into a crisis that would force early elections, which he said will not happen.
The mainstream media campaign is sympathetic to expulsions, based on the claim that Israel is a democratic state that acts according to the law.” Lieberman pointed out that Israeli governments, primarily those under Labor party majorities, authorized and backed the families in many communities in Judea and Samaria.
“If there was a mistake [in building homes on private Arab land}, it was that of the government, which must take responsibility and rectify its error,” said Lieberman.