New York, June 6, 2012—Israeli youth activists, led by OneVoice’s Tal Harris, stepped up pressure on Knesset members to quash legislation legalizing outposts on private Palestinian land ahead of Wednesday’s vote. The movement published a poll on Tuesday, showing nearly 58% oppose the bill.
With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contending with the issue of evacuating the illegal Ulpana outpost in Beit El, amid intense lobbying from settler groups and their allies in the governing coalition, OneVoice Israel mounted a campaign to defeat the bill. Youth activists carried out a relentless phone, text, and social media blitz to get ministers to vote against the legislation. They also hung posters and banners all over Jerusalem that read “Prime Minister Netanyahu, the outposts are destroying Israel” and “Minister Mofaz, the outposts are killing the two-state solution.”
“I urge ministers and Knesset members not to succumb to pressure from the far-right minority, which our poll shows does not represent the mood of the people,” said Harris, executive director of OneVoice Israel. “If the law passes, the Supreme Court is likely to deem it unconstitutional, turning the Israeli judiciary and legislative branches into an ineffectual sham.”
The proposed legislation seeks to legalize outposts in the occupied West Bank that house at least 20 Jewish families who have resided there for more than four years. The bill hopes to bypass the Supreme Court ruling to dismantle the illegal Ulpana outpost by July 1.
OneVoice Israel released a poll on Tuesday, conducted by Shvakim Panorama, showing 57.7% of respondents support the Supreme Court’s decision to demolish the illegal outpost and 57.6% oppose the bill legalizing outposts. More than 64% were against illegal settlement activity in the West Bank.
“The majority of Israelis clearly oppose the bill and support the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Harris. “Any new construction on private Palestinian land in the heart of the West Bank serves as another roadblock in the way of the two-state solution.”
Hard-liners first attempted to pass the outpost bill in late February, pulling out from presenting it for a Knesset vote at the last minute in response to overwhelming pressure from opposition MKs and the grassroots organized by OneVoice Israel.