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Posts Tagged ‘bill’

New Bill Envisions Large Scale Settlement Uprooting, Attempts to Protect Victims

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Pinui Pitzui (compensation for evacuation) was an idea proposed by the far-left party Meretz as incentive to the Jews of Gush Katif: anyone who leaves his home before the deadline date, would be compensated amply. The assumption behind this suggestion was that most settlers chose life in the disputed territories because of cheap housing and government subsidies. In the end very few settlers took the bait.

A bill proposed on Tuesday by National Union chairman Yaacov Katz (Ketzaleh) will require the government to build new homes and infrastructure for residents of outposts and settlements before they are demolished. For a party so strongly identified with the ideals of settling everywhere in Eretz Israel but especially in the “disputed territories,” the bill sounded an awful lot like Pinui Pitzui.

Co-sponsored by five Haredi MKs – and so far not by Katz’s own faction members – the bill, titled “Preservation of the Rights of Evacuees 5772-2012,” is intended to “maintain the basic human rights and the fabric of life of a group of citizens slated to be evacuated.”

The bill states that an evacuation of a large group (20 or more housing units) can only be done after a new location has been determined in which the evacuees can continue their lives in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. This means that the new location must have an infrastructure in place, as well as comparable education and religious service to those they leave behind. The new location must also offer employment for everyone that is comparable in terms of character, pay, and commuting time. Otherwise the evacuees are entitled to unemployment compensation for 24 months.

This is the famous “key for key” exchange which Gush Katif settlers were demanding at the time, meaning – instead of giving us money, give us the key to a new home and a new life that our comparable to what we are asked to give up – and then we’ll give you the key to our home.

In addition, the Finance Ministry must have in place the entire amount slated for reparations to the evacuees, above and beyond the arrangements for resettling.

“If, after we’ve objected and fought and demonstrated, and, God forbid, lost, and the state of Israel has decided to kick Jews out of their home,” Katz’s spokesman Harel Cohen, told the Jewish Press, “and, by the way, not only Jews, anyone, it cannot do it before it built them a home elsewhere, to start their lives anew.”

Cohen said the bill intends to prevent a repeat of the terrible injustice that Sharon has done to the Gush Katif evacuees, about which he says there’s a wall-to-wall consensus – as  seven years after their uprooting, most of the evacuees still do not live in permanent homes.

I told him that to an outside observer the bill looked like the foundation for a wholesale transfer of Jews from Judea and Samaria. Cohen denied this in no uncertain terms, saying the idea is to force the government to build a new Gish Katif before it takes down an old one.

It certainly appears that the right and the settlers are maturing and getting used to being associated with the ruling majority, and learning to play politics. It also explains why five members of Shas and one from United Torah Judaism are co-sponsoring the bill, as they could probably teach their national religious brethren a thing or two about exacting a price for their cooperation with government.

Cohen told me that the dean of Beit El Yeshiva and Katz’s mentor Rabbi Zalman Melamed was pushing this legislation as far back as a year ago, and at the time even Katz had difficulty with the concept – much as his three faction colleagues still do, apparently, today.

“It sounded to him like a conditional agreement” for evacuation, Cohen explained. But a year later, having agonized over the arduous process of losing the Ulpana Hill neighborhood at the High Court without even getting their opportunity to argue back, Ketzalaeh and everyone else in Beit El can certainly envision the worst happening again.

Talking to a (Man on a) Horse

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

   יְהִי-דָן נָחָשׁ עֲלֵי-דֶרֶךְ שְׁפִיפֹן עֲלֵי אֹרַח הַנּשֵׁךְ עִקְּבֵי-סוּס וַיִּפֹּל רֹכְבוֹ אָחוֹר

Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. (Gen. 49:17)

Right wing activist Itamar ben Gvir was arrested by police on Wednesday during a demonstration outside the Knesset, as protesters reacted  to the rejection of a bill that would have saved their homes from needless demolition.

It appeared, as the verse in Genesis suggests, that when dealing with the folks on horseback, the well thought out, logical argument rarely wins the day.

How the Right Snatched Defeat from the Jaws of Victory on Ulpana

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

Watching the Givat Ulpana fiasco was like watching a train wreck about to happen. While the defeat in the Knesset today might still have happened in an alternate history, it definitely did not need to be the crushing defeat that we witnessed today.

On Wednesday, ahead of the Knesset vote, I visited the Ulpana Hunger Strikers outside the Knesset.

When Palestinians go on hunger strikes, you will never see bottles of drinks around them, not water, not juice, even if many of them are actually eating on the sly.

Sometimes, for the camera, you’ll see someone handing a Palestinian a small cup of water with a straw to sip from as he’s lying down in exhaustion.

You know these hunger strikers are serious because that’s what you see on TV.

But in the Ulpana tent, I saw something else entirely.

Large bottles of juice were sitting next to each striker while they were industriously typing away on their laptops as reporters filmed them. No one looked exhausted, no one looked tired, and, certainly, no one looked hungry.

One reporter even asked them to take the drinks off the table while she took some photos. They actually argued with her about it.

One can only hope they’ll be able to take off the weight they’ve gained from all that sugar water.

Can you be any less media savvy than that?

Unfortunately, you can, as the National Union party proved in their press conference just hours later.

In the Knesset conference room sat some of the National Union MKs (rumor has it that two of them haven’t talked to one another in months), along with some Likud MKs who defied their party head, the Prime Minister, to be there.

My jaw dropped when some of the National Union MKs began disparaging the entire Likud – as their Likud allies were sitting right next to them.

And that’s when the fighting began – while the cameras were rolling.

MK Michael Ben-Ari and MK Tzipi Hotoveli began to fight, Ben-Ari attacking the Likud and Hotoveli defending her party. And it’s not that Ben-Ari said anything technically incorrect, or that Hoteveli’s arguments held water (audience members even corrected some of her more obvious mistakes).

The whole thing was just terribly inappropriate.

It finally reached a point where Hotoveli got up and walked out, right in the middle of the press conference – but, to her credit, announced that she would still vote for the bill – despite what had just ensued.

Is this how the Right expects to win and keep allies? By spitting in their faces? By acting like children in front of reporters? By not showing even a little savvy?

If only it were just a matter of being unschooled in media issues. Unfortunately, it’s worse.

Two weeks ago, the National Union was prepared to bring their bill to save the Ulpana neighborhood to a vote. Back then, with most Right wing MKs making statements about saving the houses, it had a chance of passing.

But Netanyahu fooled them. He asked them to hold off for two weeks, to give him a chance to find a solution to the problem that would not catch the High Court’s ire. If he failed, they could go ahead with their bill.

Except Netanyahu wasn’t looking for a solution to save Givat Ulpana during those two weeks. He needed time to find a way to defeat the bill.

But the National Union, in their honesty and good faith, and naivete, if you ask me, gave Netanyahu the two weeks he needed to line up his troops and kill their bill.

Time and again, we see Israeli Right-wing politicians and activists playing touch football in a tackle game, and time and again they walk away with bloody noses, if not worse.

To save Givat Ulpana we need a quarterback and receivers and tackles willing to do whatever it takes to get the ball into the other team’s end zone.

The majority of the Jews in Israel are behind us, the majority of the Knesset members essentially agree with us — it’s our game to lose.

So stop playing like you’re still in Little League!

Bill to Save Ulpanah Hill Defeated

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

The Knesset on Wednesday rejected the proposed bill to save the Ulpanah Hill neighborhood, which was ordered by the High Court to be demolished at the end of this month.

The bill, knows as the “Regulatory Law,” put a time limit on the rights of Arab claimants to sue Jewish settlers, while providing for market value compensation for plaintiffs who prove their case in magistrate court.

If passed, the bill would have circumvented the High Court decision, although Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon has warned that even if the bill passes, it was likely to be killed as unconstitutional by the court, as to date Israel is yet to apply its law to the territories of Judea and Samaria.

In a preliminary reading, the Knesset voted the bill down by 69 to 22.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to oppose the bill and demanded that his minister vote his party line under threat of dismissal.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced Wednesday that his Yisrael Beiteinu party will vote with the government against the bill, after approved Netanyahu’s alternative plan to remove the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El and transfer the houses to a nearby former army base.

The Netnayahu plan, approved by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, is to uproot relocate the five houses in question to an abandoned military base near the town of Beit El, and to build an additional 300 new housing units in that base.

Netanyahu is hoping to discourage Arabs and the anti-Israeli leftist organizations which support and encourage their law suits, as each one of their “successes” would result in multiple new Jewish homes in nearby areas.

Netanyahu’s Cabinet to Legalize Ulpana Hill Neighborhood

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Israel’s Cabinet will meet in a special session to discuss legalizing the Ulpana Hill Neighborhood in Judea and Samaria, in response to a Supreme Court ruling calling for its demolition.

The meeting will be held Friday, a day after National Union faction leader Ya’akov Katz (Ketzaleh) and Zevulun Orlev of the Jewish Home faction each said that he would introduce a bill next week to retroactively authorize the constructon.

The two factions’ proposed bills were announced after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin that Netanyahu was removing his opposition to a new regulation law. MK Katz (shadow ‘e) that it would introduce his bill on Monday.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court rejected the Israeli government’s request to delay the razing of the Neighborhood of the town of Bet El. In reinforcing its ruling of last September, the panel of judges ordered that the neighborhood of several apartment buildings be razed by July 1, having found that the buildings have been built on private land owned by Palestinians.

Material from a JTA story was used in this report.

Michigan Congress Members Urge Stopping Iran’s Nukes at JCPA Plenum

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Two Congress members from Michigan at the Jewish Council for Public Affairs annual plenum stressed the importance of stopping a nuclear Iran and passing a bipartisan farm bill.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, told plenum participants in Detroit on Monday that leaving the military option on the table was the only way to stop a nuclear-armed Iran.

“Time is on Iran’s side. They know that. Time is not on Israel’s side. They know that,” Rogers, a Republican, said in his address. “A strong U.S. defensive posture is the greatest force for peace in the world.”

Rogers emphasized that joint military cooperation between Israel and the U.S. was essential in convincing the Iranians to abandon its nuclear program.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, used her remarks to stress the importance of reauthorizing the Farm Bill, which has been a legislative priority for the JCPA.

The bill includes funding for various programs, including the former food stamp program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Stabenow, a Democrat, argued that even during a time of budget deficits, “every single dollar we spend must go to families in need.”

Netanyahu Wins, Knesset Dissolved

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Monday submitted a bill to dissolve the 18th Knesset and call for early elections, which was passed by the House Committee, in a vote of 13 to 4. The move was designed to undermine Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s attempt to promote his bill calling for drafting Haredi citizens.

On Sunday, Lieberman’s faction chairman MK Robert Ilatov turned to Coalition Chairman Ze’ev Elkin asking to push the dissolution of the Knesset to next week, so he would be able to go through at least the first official reading of the “Draft for Everyone” bill, but was refused.

Approval of the bill to dissolve the Knesset decision is separate from the decision to declare an election recess, which is the purview of Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Rivlin believes that the Knesset should get its election break as soon as possible, by Wednesday at the latest.

While the Knesset is preparing to be dispersed, a new Knesset member, Kadima’s Yuval Zellner, will be sworn in, replacing Tzipi Livni who resigned.

A normal Knesset term is four years. The 3rd Knesset served for 4 years and 4 months, followed by the 4th Knesset which served for only 1 year and 9 months.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/the-knesset/netanyahu-wins-knesset-dissolved/2012/05/07/

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