Israel Political Brief June 7, 2012: US Condemns Israel Over PM Benjamin Netanyahu Announcing Beit El Expansion of 300 New Homes

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Israel’s West Bank plans stir U.S. furor, settlers’ ire

Source: JTA, 6-7-12

The announcement of new settlement construction in the West Bank, following the defeat of a Knesset bill recognizing settlement outposts, draws U.S. rebuke….READ MORE »

State Dept. slams new West Bank housing approval

Source: JTA, 6-7-12

The Obama administration said it “does not accept the legitimacy” of announced plans for up to 851 new housing units for West Bank settlements….READ MORE »

U.S. Condemns Israel Over Beit El Expansion

U.S. says “Israeli settlement activity undermines peace efforts” after PM Netanyahu announces 300 new homes for Beit El.

Source: Israel National News, 6-7-12

Ulpana neighborhood

Ulpana neighborhood
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The United States condemned Israel on Wednesday, after Prime Minister announced that 300 new homes will be built in Beit El.

“We’re very clear that continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank undermines peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations, including the 2003 road map,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, according to the Chinese Xinhua news agency.

Toner told reporters, “Our position on settlements remains unchanged. We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity.”

He added, “You know, we want to see these parties — both parties, rather, refrain from these kinds of actions and to get back into negotiations.”

Netanyahu promised to expand construction in Beit El, in a special statement he issued Wednesday, regarding the impending demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood.

“This is not a simple or easy day,” said Netanyahu. “Relocating the houses is certainly not an action that the government is eager to carry out, but the court made a decision and we respect the court system’s decisions. At the same time, the community of Beit El will be widened. The 30 families from the Ulpana Neighborhood will remain in Beit El and they will be joined by 300 new families.”

Netanyahu’s statement was made shortly after the Knesset rejected a bill aimed at circumventing a court order to destroy five residential units in the Ulpana neighborhood.

The vote was 22 for the bill and 69 against. Absent from the vote were all of the ministers and deputy ministers who vowed to test Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ultimatum to vote against the bill or be fired.

The extreme leftist group Peace Now was not happy at all with the commitment by Netanyahu to build 300 more homes in Beit El, and was quick to start an online petition calling on him to rescind what they called “a collective punishment” that he has meted out against Israel’s citizens.

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Full Text Israel Political Brief June 6, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El Issue

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu: 300 New Families to Join Beit El

PM says: “Those who want to use the courts to damage settlements are mistaken – the opposite will happen.”

 

Netanyahu

Netanyahu
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a special statement Wednesday regarding the impending demolition of the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood….READ MORE

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks on the Issue of the Ulpana Neighborhood in Beit El

Source: PMO, 6-6-12

Photo by GPO

Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks today the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El:

“We are not strangers in Beit El. We are not strangers in Judea and Samaria. This is the Land of our Patriarchs. This is where our identity was formed. I say this here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and I say this everywhere in the world. Israel is a democratic state in which upholding the law is at the foundation of our free lives. The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy and as the Prime Minister of Israel I am committed to upholding the law and am I committed to uphold the settlement enterprise, and I tell you that there is no contradiction between the two. The draft law that was rejected today in the Knesset would have hurt settlement whereas the outline that I have decided upon – the expansion of the community, moving the homes and legal defense against any precedent – strengthens settlement.

And yet it must be said that this has been a complicated and difficult day.  Moving homes from their location, even if it is only five homes, is certainly not an action that this Government rejoices in doing.  But the court ruled as it did and we honor the decisions of the judicial system.

At the same time, the community of Beit El will be expanded. The 30 families will remain in Beit El and will be joined by 300 new families.  I tell those who think they can use the judicial system to hurt settlement, that they are mistaken, because in practice, the exact opposite will occur. Instead of shrinking Beit El – Beit El has expanded.  Instead of hurting settlement, settlement has been strengthened.

I also received a clear legal opinion which I would like to cite. ‘The verdict set no law and in any case does not constitute a precedent.  Nothing may be construed from it regarding other cases.’

I have also decided to establish a ministerial committee on settlement to ensure that the Government’s policy of strengthening settlement is implemented.

I would like to thank my ministerial colleagues for showing responsibility at a difficult time. Yuli Edelstein and Daniel Hershkowitz spoke to me at length about the importance and necessity of establishing the ministerial committee. Benny Begin and Moshe Yaalon invested considerable time in the work of the ministerial team to strengthen settlement. Gideon Saar and Gilad Erdan certainly lost much sleep in recent days in the discussions to find a legal outline that would forestall a precedent.  I would also like to thank my colleagues, my partners, the heads of the coalition factions, Shaul Mofaz, Eli Yishai, Ehud Barak, Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni. I would also like to thank Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for acting responsibly.  There is responsible leadership in Israel.

In conclusion, I would like to say a few words to my brothers and sisters from the settler public. I understand your pain, and I share it. I met several of the families. I saw the people. I saw the children and I would like to tell you what I told them. There is no government that supports, or will support, settlement more than my government.  I also say that there is no government that has withstood such heavy pressures, which could have hurt settlement, and it must be understood that ours is a very complex diplomatic, national and legal environment. And in this complex reality, one must navigate wisely, sagaciously and responsibly. Thus the members of the Government and myself have acted up until now and thus we will continue to act. We will continue to strengthen settlement and we will continue to strengthen democracy in the State of Israel.”

Israel Political Brief May 23, 2012: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Orders Two-Week Delay on ‘Ulpana Law’ to Postpone Expulsion Plans to Beit El’s Ulpana Neighborhood

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF

ISRAEL POLITICAL BRIEF: ISRAEL NEWS

Netanyahu Orders Two-Week Delay on ‘Ulpana Law’

Netanyahu orders the coalition to shelve Ketzaleh’s bill to legalize the Ulpana neighborhood and tells Barak to postpone expulsion plans.
A boy walks near Israeli flags in Ulpana

A boy walks near Israeli flags in Ulpana
Reuters

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the coalition to block National Union Knesset Member Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz’s bill to compensate potential expulsion victims at Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood and also told Defense Minister Ehud Barak to postpone demolition plans. The Prime Minister wants two weeks to solve the dilemma.

A court order for expulsions and demolitions of the five Ulpana apartment buildings is hanging over the heads of approximately two dozen families, some of whom have been living in the neighborhood for 10 years. There was no question of their legal presence until the High Court agreed with a left-wing organization petition that the land is owned by a Palestinian Authority Arab different from his cousin of the same name who sold the property – claiming ownership – to Beit El.

The government authorized the residents to move into their homes, which they argue were legally bought in good faith, but the High Court rejected their claim.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told coalition leader Ze’ev Elkin to work against advancing the bill proposed by MK Katz – whose party does not sit in the coalition – so that the government can find an alternative solution in two weeks.

Barak has said he opposes the proposed law because it would scuttle a standing court order and would give ammunition to the international anti-Israel movement. “In an advanced democratic country, there is no possibility of passing legislation that cancels a standing court order. Beit El is a large and important community that in the future will remain a part of the State of Israel in any future arrangement [with the Palestinian Authority). We must find a solution to carry out the court order while strengthening Beit El,” he said.

The implication is that Barak would agree to additional housing units in Beit El in exchange for carrying out the demolitions and expulsions. He has blocked thousands of homes from being built for Jews in Judea and Samaria by not signing authorization forms. As Defense Minister, he must sign each building permit for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as they are subject to the  IDF civil administration.

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