The battle in the Knesset to keep five buildings in the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El in place is over, but MKs on the right say that the evacuation is just the beginning, and that the precedent of moving buildings is a “slippery slope” that will lead to moving people, and eventually to abandoning large parts of the country. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday of “stabbing Jewish settlement in the back,” by making ridiculous promises that he is unable, and probably uninterested, in keeping.
Prior to Wednesday's Knesset vote on the Regulation Law, which would have ensured that residents of the neighborhood would be able to stay in their homes, Netanyahu threatened MKs and ministers who supported the bill that he would fire them. As a result, government sources said, MK Ze'ev Elkin is likely to be removed from his position as head of the coalition.
In return for the bill's defeat, Netanyahu promised to build 851 new homes in Judea and Samaria. Three hundred are to be built in Beit El. In addition, Netanyahu promised to wrest from Defense Minister Ehud Barak the sole responsibility for approving construction in Judea and Samaria, instead assigning it to a committee of ministers.
Those promises were enough to convince most of the MKs and ministers who opposed the evacuation of the neighborhood to eventually support it, but several weren't buying it. Ariel said he did not expect Netanyahu to stand behind his word, as this would not be the first time he made promises to the right that he eventually broke. “Before he was elected he promised that his government would pursue a nationalist policy, but after he was elected he adopted the two-state solution, saying that the public would not be able to live with nationalist policies. Eventually, he stabbed residents of Judea and Samaria in the back,” Ariel said.
Speaking on Israel Radio, Ariel said that he could not say whether predictions that the violence accompanying the relocation of the residents of the Ulpana neighborhood would be worse than what took place when police attempted to evacuate Amona several years ago, but that “I am sure they will not be singing and dancing when they leave.”
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) compared the predicament of residents of Judea and Samaria to the movie “Saw IV,” part of a horror movie series that violently portrays the dismembering of victims with various methods. “The actions by the Likud in recent years resembles the Saw series,” Eldad said as he spoke in the Knesset in support of the Regulation Law. “In 'Saw I,. the Likud under Menachem Begin destroyed the Jewish communities of Yamit and northern Sinai before handing Sinai to the Egyptians. In 'Saw II,' Netanyahu and the Likud handed Hevron over to the Arabs. In 'Saw III,' the Likud led by Ariel Sharon destroyed the communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
“Now we have arrived at 'Saw IV,' in which Netanyahu has handed over the Ulpana neighborhood. Netanyahu himself had said that destroying the neighborhood was 'a situation the public would never accept,' and here he is doing exactly that. None of us can be shocked and surprised when the tractors come to uproot dozens of families and hundreds of children. Let the public indeed act like a public that cannot accept such a situation,” Eldad said.