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AG Expected to Back Netanyahu Plan for Givat Ulpana

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said the Attorney General will provide written approval for his plan to move five buildings in Beit El.
By Gabe Kan
First Publish: 6/4/2012, 8:50 PM

Yehuda Weinstein
Yehuda Weinstein
Flash 90

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Monday approved Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's outline for dealing with Beit El's threatened Ulpana neighborhood.

Netanyahu has proposed five multi-residence structure facing demolition be destroyed, but that fifty new structures be approved on adjacent state owned land.

Under the plan, the government would also pay to move the five buildings slated to be destroyed – which would cost the state an estimated NIS 14m.

Likud ministers demanded Netanyahu obtain written approval for the plan from the Attorney General due to the economic commitment it entailed.

"By Wednesday, there will be a formal written response," Netanyahu told them. "The Attorney General will give us written protection against similar claims in the future."

Netanyahu added, "The Ulpana neighborhood is an exceptional case, and cannot set a precedent for future cases."

We must "respond to the families of the neighborhood in a way that is practical, legal, and economical," Netanyahu said. "Building them new homes will cost less than buying any apartment in Tel Aviv."

Netanyahu's proposal was delivered late Saturday evening, when he said: "This plan respects the rule of law and at the same time strengthens Israel's settlement enterprise."

Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu pleaded with Likud faction members to back his plan and vote against the so-called regulation law proposed by MK Yaakov Katz (National Union).

Katz's law is one of two that has been proposed to legalize [most] Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria where they stand, and ensure compensation when demolitions do occur.

Netanyahu's statements seem to indicate he intends to renege on a promise made to Katz, that he would not oppose the regulation law when it was brought to a vote, if Katz would hold off in submitting the bill for a fortnight.

The two week delay was intended to allow Netanyahu to find an administrative, rather than legislative, solution to the court order mandating the destruction of five multi-residence structures in Beit El.

Katz – during a stormy debate over the regulation law – agreed to Netanyahu's terms, but the Prime Minister has now indicated he opposes the law and intends to enforce coalition and party discipline on Wednesday.

Critics have characterized Netanyahu's offer of tenfold tenders for demolitions in Beit El as a none-too-subtle bribe aimed at carrying out the demolitions and derailing the regulation law in one fell swoop.