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Knesset May Vote to Legalize Outposts Monday

NU's Yaakov Katz says he will bring Outposts Law to a vote Monday. MK Orlev will do so Wednesday.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/10/2012, 8:15 PM

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

National Union Chairman MK Yaakov Katz announced Thursday that he intends to bring the Outposts Law that he co-authored to a vote in the Knesset plenum Monday.

The move will be coordinated with Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin.

The law was sponsored by Katz along with MKs Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beitenu).

Earlier Thursday, MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) said that he has decided to place his own version of the bill up for a vote next week, in order to forestall the planned demolition of the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood in Beit El, and to save other outposts that are on the chopping block.

Orlev said his decision was motivated by reports that the prime minister is giving "positive consideration" to the idea of allowing his ministers to vote freely on the matter, and that many ministers have said they would support the law.

Orlev noted that the Coalition Management has, in the past, decided to grant coalition members freedom to vote according to their conscience on the bill. "Based on the count of ministers and MKs who support this law, there is a solid majority for passing it in the Knesset next Wednesday," Orlev said.

Attempts to avoid the demolition of Jewish communties through legislation highlight the competition between the Knesset and the Supreme Court over who is sovereign to make final decisions in contested issues. Israel's courts have adopted an activist stance since the days of Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, arousing the ire of a large part of the Knesset, which sees the court's behavior as political and undemocratic.    

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will convene a committee Friday to find a solution for Givat Haulpana, after the High Court rejected a government petition asking for an additional 90 days in which to explore the matter.

The threatened homes were built on land purchased by Beit El several years ago. However, the seller turned out not to be the real owner and the latter filed suit to get his land back. The court ruled in his favor and the government agreed, without argument, to destroy the houses.