Netanyahu at weekly cabinet meeting
Netanyahu at weekly cabinet meetingEmil Salman/Flash 90

A proposal by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) to normalize the status of Havat Gilad following the recent murder of one of its residents will not be addressed by the governing coalition next week, despite broad support within the government.

On Sunday, Liberman submitted a proposal to the coalition government Sunday, calling for the establishment of a new town in Samaria for the residents of the Havat Gilad outpost in Samaria, normalizing the community’s status while potentially requiring the relocation of some residents now living on disputed land.

Last Tuesday night, Arab terrorists murdered 32-year-old Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a resident of Havat Gilad, in a shooting attack just several hundred yards away from the outpost’s entrance.

While a number of coalition members, including cabinet ministers, have expressed their support for some arrangement to normalize Havat Gilad’s status, the Defense Minister’s proposal is entirely absent from the daily agenda of the government’s weekly meeting this coming Sunday. The proposal will be neither voted on nor even discussed, according to the meeting schedule.

Havat Gilad was established in 2002 in memory of Gilad Zar, a local security coordinator who was murdered at the site by Arab terrorists in 2001. The community was built at the behest of and with the support of Zar’s father, Moshe Zar, a veteran settlement activist.

The community was never officially recognized, and was labelled by the government as an “unauthorized outpost”. A number of partial evacuations were carried out during the Sharon and Olmert governments.

Following last week’s attack, however, Defense Minister Liberman announced that his office would investigate the possibility of retroactively recognizing the community, and upgrading its status from an unauthorized outpost to a full-fledged, normalized town.

“Security forces are pursuing the terrorists who murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach, may God avenge his blood,” said Liberman in a statement. “I feel the pain and sorrow of his wife Yael and his six children. I have instructed the heads of the Defense Ministry to assist the family and the residents of Havat Gilad. I have also ordered an examination of the possibility of legalizing Havat Gilad and making it a community among the other settlements in Judea and Samaria.”