Netanyahu Delays Vote on Amona

YERUSHALAYIM -

The latest skirmish in the battle over the outpost community of Amona ended in delay after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took the matter off the agenda of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, just minutes before it was due to be voted on.

Right wing MKs in Jewish Home and Likud have been pressing for a solution for the Amona residents. The plan immediately in question, called the Regulation bill, would give Palestinians whose land has been taken for outposts in Yehudah and Shomron alternative plots of land and monetary compensation.

Deputy Attorney General Avi Licht reminded the ministers on Sunday that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit opposes the legislation, on the technical grounds that the Knesset lacks the authority to intervene in a matter under the jurisdiction of the army’s Civil Administration. Licht told them that the proposed legislation would be indefensible in the High Court.

After a meeting between Netanyahu and the bill’s leading proponents, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), yielded no agreement on how to proceed, the prime minister got the backing of a majority of his coalition partners to put off the vote for another week.

Last week, Bennett pledged he would force the issue to a vote despite Netanyahu’s foot-dragging.

“The head of the [Likud] is pressing on the brakes and telling us not to push the matter,” Bennett said on Thursday, “because ‘we need to solve this [issue] some other way.’”

“We have tried other ways,” continued Bennett, “and unfortunately there was this double foot-dragging [there as well].”