Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak Israel news photo: Flash 90

Sources close to Defense Minister Ehud Barak sought to dismiss sharp criticism from Ministers Yisrael Katz and Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon on his Judea and Samaria policy by labeling them "Feiglinist hardliners."

"Katz and Yaalon are apparently Feiglinist hardliners," the sources said, adding. "Feglin's followers are not good for Israel, its security, its future, or the public in general."

The sources added, "We seek to benefit the public and the Knesset, and hope the trend of ‘Feiglinism’ is not contagious."

Moshe Feiglin, who heads the Likud's internal Manhigut Yehudit [Jewish Leadership] faction, has challenged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud in previous elections on the premise that Netanyahu is not longer adhering to principles of the party.

Since its inception, the Likud has advocated Jewish settlement in all of Judea and Samaria and its platform negated a Palestinian state in that region. However, Netanyahu's governments have pursued a policy of "land for peace" and frequently sought to impede Jewish construction even in areas under Israeli administrative control.

Observers note that Katz and Yaalon are not a part of Feiglin's faction, nor are they in the minority in the Likud or ruling coalition. 20 of Likud's 27 lawmakers opposed Barak's private political agenda in Judea and Samaria, as have Netanyahu's fellow coalition party heads.

On Saturday, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe "Bogie" Yaalon said Barak's "private political agenda" threatened the "dissolution of the government."

Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz, who was a guest in Beit El's threatened Ulpana neighborhood on Friday said that  "Barak is using the Defense Ministry as political tool against the settlers."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud-led coalition faces a crisis as a deadline to destroy the Ulpana neighborhood and nearby Givat Assaf looms large without resolution.

Such a policy would affect thousands of Jewish families in Judea and Samaria who bought homes many years ago on abandoned land with government help, far from any Arab community, who are now facing sudden lawsuits by Palestinian Authority residents, claiming the land on which these homes are built.

Some of the land was purchased and either the owner was afraid for his life and therefore did not go through legal channels or the owner was fraudulent, taking advantage of the similarity of Arab names and language barriers.

The Supreme Court has tended to side with PA plaintiffs in such cases even without proof of ownership.

Barak's Independent party, which broke from Labor, has little chance of entering the next Knesset, according to recent polls. His actions in Judea and Samaria are widely seen as an effort to gain Labor voter support. Trying for a place on the Likud list, chosen through primaries, does not have much hope of success for Barak. Barak's position gives him the authority to carry out outpost destruction and the Machpela House expulsion.