Construction work at the site to which the Ulpana settlers are due to be relocated.
Construction work at the site to which the Ulpana settlers are due to be relocated. Photo by Emil Salman
Text size

Talks are underway between a group of right-wing activists and representatives of the attorney general’s office and the Prime Minister’s Office, in an effort to reach an agreement over the apartment buildings in Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood, Haaretz has learned.

 According to the outlines of the agreement, the buildings will not be demolished. In exchange, the residents will agree to leave peacefully.

 Among the representatives at the talks are Yesha Council of settlements head Dani Dayan and MK Yaakov Katz (National Union). Beit El’s rabbi, Zalman Melamed, is receiving reports on the talks.

 Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser are representing the government in the talks.

 “The hope is that the residents will be able to return, after an agreement is made with the owner of the land, of course,” an individual involved in the talks told Haaretz.

 Since the Knesset rejected the bill legalizing the houses on Ulpana Hill on Wednesday, numerous tents have been put up in the outpost by people who want to be on hand for the evacuation. Signs have gone up in the neighborhood with various slogans. One called on people to “delay the injustice as much as possible.”

 Netanyahu’s decision to compensate the settlers for evacuation of the Ulpana neigborhood by constructing 851 apartments east of the Green Line was harshly criticized by the United States and the Palestinian Authority.

 Netanyahu and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias decided that 300 apartments would be built in Beit El, and another 551 units will be constructed in other settlements.

 Members of Kadima had stated repeatedly before the vote that it was only because Kadima had joined the coalition that the bill would not pass.

 However, with publication of the conditions of the “sweetening of the pot” presented by Netanyahu, one Knesset member said, “Kadima in fact gave the seal of approval to the renewal of significant construction in the settlements.”

 Kadima MK Yoel Hasson, who had until recently been identified with the camp of former party chairwoman Tzipi Livni, said on Thursday, “Israel will pay dearly in the international arena for Netanyahu’s decision to placate the extreme right.” Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said Netanyahu “gets a zero for leadership when he tries to set a price for upholding a court ruling.”

Read this article in Hebrew