Report: Bibi to Sack Ministers Who Back Outpost Law

January 28, 2012  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to inform Likud ministers on Sunday that any Likud minister who votes for the Outpost Law will be fired from government.

The bill, authored by Minister Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home), would forbid eviction and demolition orders for Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that have stood for four years and have at least twenty families.

It also stipulates that all petitions disputing land claims must be proven through accepted evidentiary means in a court competent to hear the case. Should such a claim be found valid the court would be directed to order monetary compensation or alternative grant of land for the plaintiff.

Netanyahu, who has pointedly refused to bring the law to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for several weeks in fear it will pass over his objections, wishes to ensure the law fails in the Knesset plenum.

Without the backing of the Ministerial Committee, laws generally fail to garner sufficient support to be passed into law. But Netanyahu and his office are painfully aware that many Likud ministers and faction heads intend to back the law, irrespective of his position.

Orlev is expected to put the Outpost Law on the Knesset agenda even without the Ministerial Committee’s endorsement, on Monday.

Observers say the Outpost Law would could then be brought to a vote in the plenum as early as Wednesday. Nor, they say, will Netanyahu likely be able to convince Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin to refuse to bring the law to a vote.

Rivlin has gone on record saying that “one way or another” the community of Migron, which the bill seeks to save (among others), will be legalized.

Orlev is well aware that his bill has strong support among Likud lawmakers and other MKs in the ruling coalition who see it as a way to stop further demolitions of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

According to a recent poll 67% of the Likud-base supported the Outpost Law, while only 26% opposed it and 7% held no opinion.

When asked whether Likud ministers or faction members opposing the Outpost Law would cause them to vote against them in the coming Likud primaries 45% answered in the affirmative, 38% said it would have no impact, and 22% said they were unsure.

However, more telling was that 32% of the Likud base said, were Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to champion the Outpost Law, they would seriously consider transferring their support to his Israel Beiteinu faction in the next elections, if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opposes it and the threatened communities are uprooted.

Analysts say, with Likud primaries just around the corner, that Likud lawmakers find themselves faced with a double edged sword vis-a-vis the Prime Minister and Likud base.

Additionally, the faction heads who head the party’s comprising Netanyahu’s coalition – and represent a majority of seats in the Knesset – have demanded the Prime Minister find a way to legalize threatened Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Some rightist experts are critical of the law, saying it has no legal standing, as Israeli law does not apply to Judea and Samaria, making the upholding of the law in international circles an impossibility.

However, with temperatures on the issue rising, there is little question, analysts say, that were they allowed to vote freely in the plenum without threats, the Outpost Law would have sufficient votes to pass.

The Prime Minister’s Office refused to comment after Shabbat on Saturday evening. Netanyahu has backed moving Migron to a nearby location on land that is clearly the state’s, as was done for Ramat Gilad.

In response to the threat to sack ministers who back the Outpost Law, MK Yaakov Katz (National Union) said, “The Netanyahu government has failed in its central role as a nationalist government: to save and secure the land of Israel.”

“It not only prohibited the construction of thousands of needed homes, but has also demolished Jewish homes, and it refuses to normalize the status of neighborhoods and communities established by the governments of Israel facing destruction.”

Katz added, “MK Orlev and I brought brought this to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to prevent the demolition of threatened neighborhoods and communities.”

“It will be a further test of this government and perhaps its last test before it falls.”

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