Begin bashes outpost legalization bill

Begin bashes outpost legalization bill

Minister also voices opposition to legislation that would let Knesset overrule Supreme Court

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Benny Begin. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
Benny Begin. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

MK Benny Begin (Likud) called on Wednesday for the deferral of a bill that would legalize illegal outposts. The bill would apply to outposts that the High Court of Justice previously ruled must be removed and their inhabitants relocated.

“This isn’t a bill for regulating outposts. This bill would appropriate private Arab land for the purpose of establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank,” he said in the Knesset. Begin added that he could have condemned the bill, but sufficed with advocating that it be reconsidered.

Begin is a strong supporter of the settlement enterprise. He is also, however, committed to the government policy, followed since 1979, that opposes the establishment of settlements on private Palestinian land. In recent weeks, he negotiated a compromise with residents of the Migron outpost — built on privately held Palestinian land — to have them relocate from that location to nearby state land. He and the residents had hoped this move could take place over a period of years; the Supreme Court ruled last month, however, that Migron would have to be dismantled by the end of July.

The bill, proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home), aims for the legitimization of unregulated outposts ex post facto through the compensation of Palestinian landowners.

Begin also voiced opposition to a bill proposed by Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman which would grant the Knesset the power to overturn Supreme Court decisions.

“In its present form, it should not even be put to the Knesset,” he said, adding that any such fundamental legislation should require a 70-vote majority, not a 65-vote majority as the current draft mandates.

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