On June 12th, by 69 votes against 22, the Israeli Parliament rejected a bill drafted by the “settlements’ lobby” in order to react to the Supreme Court’s decision on May 7th to confirm that five houses in Ulpana, near the Beit El settlement in the West Bank, must be demolished before July 1st. These houses, which were built on Palestinian private lands, are inhabited by 230 Israeli citizens.
In the proposed bill, Israeli developers building on Palestinian private lands were given right of property on these lands as long as they could claim such rights “in good faith”. Facing international outcry, Prime Minister Netanyahou had to call for a rejection of the bill and threatened to sack the ministers who would vote in its favor.
But after the bill was rejected, Prime Minister Netanyahou immediately promised to build in the West Bank some 50 houses for each one destroyed in Ulpana. He has already committed himself to build 851 new housing units, 300 of which are to be built on Palestinian lands requisitioned for “security reasons” in Beit El. Moreover, the 5 houses in Ulpana will not actually be destroyed but moved to another location, which is significantly more costly than just building new ones.
JCall is pleased the proposed bill was rejected but strongly condemns the settlement policy led by the Israeli Government. It is against Palestinians’ and Israelis’ interests alike because it endangers the 2 state solution.
JCall also condemns the acts of vandalism perpetrated against the village Neve Shalom, a symbol of the peaceful coexistence of Jewish and Muslim families, in reaction to the decision to move the houses in Ulpana. It is high time the Jewish Diaspora speak out against this behaviour which threatens democracy in Israel.