Right Turns to Ministers, PM Fears World Reaction

Netanyahu fears world response to Regulation Bill; activists call to Likud ministers who support the bill not to leave before vote.

Maayana Miskin,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he has concerns over the Regulation Bill, which faces a vote Wednesday. The bill would protect Israeli homes built legally on unused Judea and Samaria land from demolition by providing any person who claims the land after the fact with financial compensation rather than destruction of the homes.

“We could find a legislative solution” to protect Judea and Samaria homes, Netanyahu told his ministers. However, he warned, “There is a price to pay – including in the international community.”

Netanyahu said he seeks to strengthen Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, but will respect the Supreme Court’s verdicts as well.

As Netanyahu expressed his doubts, pro-Regulation Bill activists continued a campaign to pressure two Likud ministers who have frequently spoken in favor of the bill, but who plan to be absent from Knesset on the day it faces a crucial vote.

Ministers Yisrael Katz and Silvan Shalom are both planning to be abroad on Wednesday. Shalom has previously said that the bill is the only chance to prevent destruction in Judea and Samaria, while Katz has said that if the bill leads to trouble on the international scene, he is willing to face the Hague court and argue Israel’s position.

Activists sent the two letters saying, “Ministers Katz and Silvan Shalom, we’re waiting for you at home… As you know, on Wednesday there will be a vote on law(s) to save settlement in Judea and Samaria. Young communities will flourish – or, G-d forbid, be emptied… Your voices will decide.”

They noted that former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin had once decided to turn down a chance to appear at an event with many famous, wealthy supporters of Israel in order to vote on an important bill. “Do the same,” they urged. “The fate of the settlements rests on you.”