Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has gathered top ministers Friday for a special meeting to discuss the fate of the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El.
Among those taking part are Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Ministers Moshe Yaalon, Yaakov Neeman and Benny Begin, and new coalition member and Minister Shaul Mofaz.
Netanyahu needs to decide the neighborhood’s fate in the upcoming days. The Supreme Court has called for the neighborhood to be demolished over claims that some of its buildings stand on privately owned Arab land.
Netanyahu is thought to be looking for a way around the order. Large-scale demolition in Beit El could mean trouble for the Likud.
The neighborhood could be saved through the creation of a law that would call to compensate any Palestinian Authority Arab who can prove ownership of land in the area rather than destroying the whole neighborhood. A similar law is in effect in all Israeli cities outside Judea and Samaria.
Several ministers have expressed support for a law calling for compensation rather than destruction – among them Science Minister Daniel Hershkowitz, Culture Minister Limor Livnat, and Education Minister Gidon Saar.
Opposition MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz (Ichud Leumi) and MK Zevulun Orlev (Bayit Hayehudi) announced this week that they are planning to put forth a bill to save the Ulpana neighborhood next week.
In the meantime, Netanyahu may issue a seizure order that would turn the threatened homes into state property.