Ministers Demand Answers Over Beit El Demolitions

Several MKs warn that the overnight raid by the IDF on homes still undergoing validation could threaten the coalition.

Hezki Baruch, | updated: 11:41

Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett
Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett
Flash 90

Education Minister MK Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) spoke with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Tuesday, and demanded a clarification from him over the impending demolition of a series of homes in Beit El.

"Ten years since the Disengagement, someone forgot that this time, the nationalist camp has public and political power," Bennett stated Tuesday morning. 

"The Defense Minister is allowing the area [Judea and Samaria - ed.] to be dragged into extreme and unsettling places, instead of calming the area," he added. "It's time for the national government to lead by the ideology for which it was voted in, and not the ways of the Left."

Overnight, IDF and Border Police stormed Beit El for a surprise demolition of the homes, which are undergoing a legalization process in the High Court for Justice. At least 50 people have been arrested in the ensuing clashes. 

"I condemn the eviction overnight of the settlers in Beit El, and call upon the Minister of the Defense not to put his energy into evicting settlers, but into completing the process of certification of the Draynoff buildings and promoting the new residential area under the Ulpana agreement," Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Jerusalem Affairs, MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) stated Tuesday, referring to an agreement under which Netanyahu had promised to build 300 homes in the Beit El area. 

"There is no greater absurdity than to destroy buildings which, minutes later it will be possible to rebuild," he added. "At this time we note with great sadness the catastrophic expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria; this is the time to build and not destroy."

Chairman of the Law and Constitution Committee, MK Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home), announced that the committee will convene a special hearing to discuss the raid. 

"I think the timing of the eviction is puzzling, given the fact that the buildings are being regulated," he noted. "I suggest instead that the Israel Police to act as effectively against the invaders in the Negev, the Galilee and the Triangle."

"On the day marking a decade since the Disengagement, the Defense Minister has decided to send security forces, under the cover of darkness, to Beit El," Justice Minister MK Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) fired Tuesday. "All of this, despite what he promised me, and despite what I then passed along to the residents of the place." 

MK Oren Hazan (Likud) noted that eviction of the buildings, at this stage, could constitute a violation of the law. 

"When I came into office I knew I was doing so in order to be of service to the residents of Judea-Samaria, including the residents of Beit El, in order to strengthen the settlement movement, to break the building freeze," Hazan stated, as he made his way to Beit El to meet with politicians there and to sit in his offices there. 

"According to the law, there is an absolute ban on evictions [...] without presenting the proper legal documents," he added. 

MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) added that the hypocrisy of the move could threaten the coalition, which stands at a tenuous 61 MKs. 

Yisrael Beytenu chairman and former Foreign Minister MK Avigdor Liberman is counting on that. 

"This is exactly the reason that we did not join the government," Liberman asserted, referring to Bennett's comments about the government not being as right-wing as it was elected to be. "Already during coalition negotiations, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not agree to our demands to commit to building in Judea and Samaria and in Jerusalem." 

"Therefore, I call on Minister Bennett and all of Jewish Home to join me, and Yisrael Beytenu, in the Opposition, so that afterwards we can establish a true nationalist government, that engages in building and not destroying," he said. 




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