Ulpana residents agree to voluntary evacuation (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 06/20/12)
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After a late meeting Tuesday night residents of five apartment
buildings in Ulpana outpost, located on the outskirts of the West
Bank settlement of Beit El, agreed to voluntarily evacuate their
homes by July 1.
They did so only after the Prime Minister’s Office pledged to build
300 new homes in Beit El and to amend its policy with respect to the
removal of unauthorized settlement homes on private Palestinian
property, according to a statement to the media by Ulpana residents.
In May, the High Court of Justice ordered the state to demolish the
buildings, which house 30 families. Three caravans have also been
included in the mandate, so that in total 33 families are due to
leave their homes.
Ulpana residents noted that building 300 housing units hardly
compensated them for the loss of their initial homes.
They quoted a statement by the rabbi of Beit El, Zalman Melamed, in
which he said that just as a father who lost a son cannot be
compensated by ten new ones in exchange, so too, “the pain of losing
these (initial homes) won’t lessen and the stain (this action
creates) on the government won’t lessen.”
In their media statement Ulpana residents said they had agreed to
voluntarily evacuate, because “we are peaceful people.”
They added that, “this battle between brothers is tearing apart the
Israeli public in general, and our population in specific.”
They had agreed to leave, they said, after receiving guarantees from
emissaries form the Prime Minister’s Office for 300 new homes in Beit
El, along with a promise that the homes they live in now will be
In addition, they said, “the prime minister’s office, the
prosecutor’s office and the Defense Ministry won’t send out
statements about absurd decisions to destroy developing neighborhoods
They asked for this last pledge in hopes of preventing future
demolitions of settler homes.
The court’s mandate with regard to the Ulpana was based in part on a
policy set by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, that unauthorized
homes on private Palestinian property must be removed. It was also
based on the state’s statements that the homes were built without
permits on private Palestinian property.
Ulpana residents have argued that the homes were purchased from the
Palestinian owners, but that the court never adjudicated that claim.
The Palestinians in turn have argued that the land is theirs. With
the help of the organization Yesh Din, they petitioned the court
against the homes in 2008.
The court accepted the state’s claim and only explored the question
of what course of action the state must take in response to the
Settlers and right wing activists had pledged to defend the Ulpana
homes, fearful that their demolition would set a precedent for other
settlers homes without permits on private Palestinian property. The
state has similarly ordered the evacuation of the Migron outpost,
which is home to 50 families, by August 1.
In addition, the state had pledged to remove the Givat Assaf outpost
by July 1 and the Amona outpost by the end of the year.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not put out any information late
Tuesday night about an agreement with Ulpana residents.
Prior to the meeting Ulpana supporters held a prayer rally of support
outside the Ulpana homes. Activists who had been gearing up to
physically defend the homes have also pitched tents outside the
Ulpana structures. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 06/20/12)
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