Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene on Friday a special ministerial meeting on the fate of several houses illegally built in the Ulpana outpost, Israel Radio reported this morning. The meeting will seek a course of action that will uphold a Supreme Court ruling on the matter, but also take into consideration the residents’ needs.
In a last-ditch effort to save the 30 homes from demolition, two parliamentarians plan to ask the Knesset next week to approve legislation to retroactively authorise the structures located on the outskirts of the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Both MKs, National Union Party head Ya’acov Katz and Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi party) plan to present separate bills on the matter, for which they believe there is majority support.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin has yet to place them on the schedule next week, but the vote will be considered a preliminary reading, after which the bills must move to committee and return to the plenum. The timing of the bills is motivated by Monday’s High Court of Justice ruling ordering the state to demolish the 30 Ulpana homes by 1 July. The houses were constructed without proper permits on land classified by the state as private Palestinian property.
Although these bills just refer specifically to the Ulpana neighbourhood case, they are linked to the larger issue of unauthorised outposts. If the plenum passes the bills and they survive judicial challenges, the legislation could transform dozens of hilltop communities into new legal settlements under Israeli law.