Daily Israel Report

Three Jewish Communities to be Legalized

A ministerial team that had been appointed on Sunday decides to legalize the status of Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 4/24/2012, 1:17 AM

Benyamin Netanyahu
Benyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

A ministerial team that had been appointed by the government on Sunday announced on Monday that three communities in Judea and Samaria will be legalized.

The three communities are Sansana, Rechelim and Bruchin. All three communities were built in the 1990s based on decisions of previous governments. The announcement means the communities will receive a legal status which hadn’t been given to them until now.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided on Sunday to set up the ministerial committee and task them with legalizing the communities. The team is comprised of Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon and Minister Benny Begin.

Netanyahu announced three weeks ago that he had given instructions to legalize the three communities.

Following Monday’s announcement, the Shomron Regional Council, which has brought over the last two years more than sixty ministers and Knesset members and hundreds of journalists on a tour of Samaria, expressed cautious satisfaction.

“The approval corrects an injustice and it is good that it has been done, even if belatedly,” said Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. “Hundreds of civilians were held hostage and were for years subject to the eccentricity of the politician Ehud Barak, who refused to sign the master plans of large communities that had been established and built by the State. We expect to finish the process and that the injustice will be corrected.”

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) was less optimistic about the announcement, accusing the government of “recycling” the announcement about legalizing communities.

“The Likud government is recycling the same legalization message for communities which have existed for many years,” said Eldad. “It is only because of [former Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon, who ordered the Sasson Report from the Israeli anti-Zionist far left, that these localities were declared illegal outposts.”

Eldad added, “There is a fear that today’s message regarding the legalization came to prepare the ground to destroy Migron, the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and Givat Assaf. Netanyahu must know that no one among those who are faithful to the Land of Israel will buy more of these tricks.”

The announcement comes as the threat of demolition still hangs over the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

Five homes in the neighborhood are scheduled to be demolished next month, following an order by the Supreme Court. 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, who has been feeling the pressure from cabinet ministers who are favoring legislation to legalize the homes before the scheduled expulsion, ordered his office on Monday to find ways to legalize the neighborhood.

On Saturday, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon said Barak's "private political agenda" threatened the "dissolution of the government."

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, who was a guest in the Ulpana neighborhood on Friday, said that "Barak is using the Defense Ministry as political tool against the settlers."

Ministers have informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that if the neighborhood is destroyed, his coalition will follow.