Barak: Beit El will be Strengthened by Demolition
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who heads the Independence faction, told faction members Monday morning that "the settlement enterprise in Beit El will be strengthened, not weakened" by the tearing down of the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood. He may have been referring to a promise allegedly made by Binyamin Netanyahu, that for every building torn down in Beit El, ten new ones will be built.
Barak explained that he opposes the various versions of the Regulation Bill and wishes they would not even come up for a vote in the Knesset.
"Beit El is a very important community," he said. "Thousands of people settled there at the behest of successive Israeli governments, [in] a community that is part of the state of Israel in any permanent arrangement along with Ofra and Baal Hatzor. In this community there is Givat HaUlpana, and we will have to solve this problem in the right way."
"There is no serious way to avoid carrying out the order of the High Court in Israel," he explained. "We are trying to make both things happen: to relocate the structures and to enable the residents to move to state-owned lands within Beit El so that they can live in a temporary facility quickly."
Barak said people living in other communities in Judea and Samaria should not feel threatened by the fate of Givat HaUlpana.
"Israel does not operate in a vacuum," he said regarding the Regulation Law. "The idea that a law can be passed to retroactively correct a court decision is wrong… We say to our friends and to the people who tied their fate and lives to Judea and Samaria – it is hard to imagine something that could do more harm to Israel, to its status and to the future of the settlement enterprise than an attempt to pass retroactive laws of this kind, or laws that bring us to a head-on collision with the international community."