Photo Credit: Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90
Havat Gilad settlers repair two structures demolished by the IDF on February 28, 2011.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during Sunday’s meeting of the Likud ministers that the issue of Havat Gilad will be raised at the cabinet meeting next week and be approved.

Havat Gilad (Hebrew: Gilad Farm) is an Israeli outpost in Samaria which is outside the jurisdiction of Shomron Regional Council. Established in 2002 in memory of Gilad Zar, the security coordinator of the Shomron Regional Council who was murdered in 2001, it has been considered an unauthorized outpost by the Israeli government and is on a list of outposts that Israel promised the US it plans to dismantle. Indeed, the outpost has been dismantled several times, but its residents kept returning and re-establishing it.

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Then, on January 9 this year, the Rabbi of Havat Gilad, Raziel Shevach, was shot by a squad of terrorists in his car going home, a heinous crime which a unified front of rightwing politicians and activists, led by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, have stated must be avenged the Zionist way – by awarding Havat Gilad a permanent status.

Netanyahu explained that the delay in raising the status issue was due to tactical reasons, and that the issue will be raised next week, in coordination with the defense minister.

But Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi) on Sunday told Army Radio that “the proposed decision prepared by the defense minister to regulate Havat Gilad farm is ready, and the Attorney General has already approved it. All that was left was to bring it to a vote in the cabinet. For his own reasons, the prime minister did not want to debate it today.”

“We expected him to submit it for discussion today, and we very much hope and expect that he will only postpone it by a week and that it will be discussed next week,” a frustrated Shaked stressed, noting that “there was no reason not to bring it up today, so we hope it was postponed only by a week, and we will do everything in our power to make sure it comes up and is approved next week. There is no reason to reject it.”

The prime minister for his part argued that the ministers who criticize the delay in the decision know that the issue will be raised next week, and they publicize their criticism only in an attempt to present it later as their achievement.

Which does not explain the countless broken promises by Netanyahu to the settlement enterprise, and does explain why Shaked et al are not prepared to let this one get away.

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