Photo Credit: The Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset
MK Yoav Kisch (planting tree) with MK Bezalel Smotrich (2nd from left) at a Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset Tu B'Shvat event.

According to an official in the MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi) circle, the Ministerial Legislative Committee will be obligated to debate the Beit El Law, which this Sunday has been removed from the agenda by Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan (Likud).

Bitan took off the agenda the Beit El Law, which states that a promise of alternative construction given in the course of the destruction of settlement homes in Judea and Samaria—such as the promises made to residents of Beit El, Migron and Amona over the past few years by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—will be promoted immediately and without concern for political considerations.


Smotrich’s circle noted that the reason Bitan was able to play rough and tumble with the proposed legislation this Sunday had to do with the fact that it had been submitted to the committee by its co-sponsor MK Yoav Kisch, who had exceeded his quota for proposed bills. Next week, when it’ll be co-sponsor Bezalel Smotrich’s turn, Bitan won’t be able to touch it.

There’s no doubt in most political observers’ minds that once the bill makes it to the ministerial committee, it would be approved and then receive widespread support in the Knesset plenum. The reason is that since the beginning of his second stretch as Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded every anti-Zionist demolition of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, by decree of the High Court of Justice, with a promise to provide an even bigger alternative for the expelled Jews.

Netanyahu, who left the Sharon government half an hour before the troops descended on the 8,600 Jewish residents of Gush Katif, back in 2005, has since managed to wiggle his way out of confrontational situations by making promises to evicted settlers – promises he very rarely kept, usually after concentrated public shaming.

In the case of the Ulpana Hill neighborhood of Beit El, near Ramallah, Samaria, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak negotiated with Rabbi Zalman Melamed, dean of the Beit El yeshiva which owns the Ulpana Hill homes, as well as with community leaders including head of the Beit El municipality Moshe Rosenboim, and offered a guaranteed deal to build 300 housing units in exchange for the ones being evacuated following the High Court decision.

That was five years ago. Altogether, 33 families were evacuated. Ulpana residents’ spokesman Harel Cohen told the Jewish Press emotions ran deep among the locals, who still see the entire affair as the manipulation of Israel’s government by a minute and well-financed leftist cadre, against the wishes of Israel’s voters and their representatives.

Since then there has been no movement from the Prime Minister suggesting he plans to honor his promise. Next week, without the protection of his rather beefy Coalition Chairman, Netanyahu will likely be forced to watch as his own party members move the bill along the three required votes.


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