Ulpana Neighborhood, Beit El
Ulpana Neighborhood, Beit El Israel news photo: Flash 90

The National Headquarters of the Likud and My Likud, two groups which represent a large number of Likud activists, have launched a new campaign to encourage Likud ministers to vote in favor of a law to legalize Jewish outposts and disputed neighborhoods.

As part of the campaign, the activists present statements that were made by Likud ministers in favor of the law, and request that the ministers meet their obligations to vote for the law in no uncertain terms.

“We, as members of the Likud, know that a promise by you is a promise,” says the campaign, which starts out by singling out Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz as a politician who zigzags and Defense Minister Ehud Barak as a leader who causes damage.

Among the ministers who are quoted in the campaign are Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein.

The campaign reads, “In recent months we have been exposed to the politics of zigzagging, of leaders who have no way or leaders who just managed to destroy any place in which they set their feet. On Wednesday the outpost regulation law, which is supported by senior jurists and which aims to prevent damage to basic human rights, the demolition of entire buildings which were built with State encouragement and the expulsion of their inhabitants, will be brought before the Knesset.”

“Cabinet ministers - we, as members of the Likud, know that your word means something and that your promise is a promise,” the campaign continues. “Raising your hand in support of the law is important, more now than ever before.”

On Wednesday, Minister Edelstein said that he will vote in favor of the law – even at the cost of being dismissed from his position.

If the proposed law passes it will legalize the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, which the Supreme Court recently ruled must be demolished by July 1. The bill would mandate solving cases in which homes were built on private Arab land through compensation rather than destruction.

“Maybe there are some things that I have not thought of and perhaps the Prime Minister will come up with a solution, but right now I cannot see a solution other than legislation,” Edelstein told Arutz Sheva. “The option of demolition is not acceptable and the Prime Minister has said that a demolition is a decree which the public cannot stand.”

He stressed, “I will vote in favor of the law to legalize the communities even if it costs me my chair and I lose my job. It's not a rebellion, it’s a natural choice - a choice that is not contrary to either the Likud’s or the Prime Minister’s platform. I cannot be a party to demolition of homes in Judea and Samaria. I emphasize that I hope the Prime Minister will find a solution, and if not, I hope he will allow ministers to vote and act according to their conscience.”

Last week it was speculated that Likud ministers – including Silvan Shalom, Gilad Erdan and Moshe Ya’alon – may vote in favor of the law, contrary to the position of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu has already made it clear that he opposes the law and has postponed a previously scheduled vote on it by refusing to allow his ministers to vote freely on the issue.

Last week it was reported that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are working out a solution for the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, which would involve the granting of permits for new construction in Beit El, after years in which no such construction was allowed. The Ulpana neighborhood will be torn down, however.

Arutz Sheva reported on Thursday that forty caravans (converted mobile homes) will be brought to Beit El in the coming days, in preparation for the planned demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood and the eviction of its residents from their homes.

The move is in contravention of the Prime Minister's commitment to freeze all preparations for an eviction while efforts were being made to find other solutions to the problem.

Told by Hauser that the change was "only a technical step," Coalition Chairman Ze'ev Elkin told Arutz Sheva: "This is an outrage, a blatant violation of a summary agreement between the prime minister and the coalition leadership. It's a sin on top of a crime, and an injustice to the evictees of Gush Katif."

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