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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ulpana residents agree to voluntary expulsion

The residents of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El have agreed to be voluntarily expelled from their homes sometime in the next week.
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 relocated.

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 and settlements.”

They asked for this last pledge in hopes of preventing future demolitions of settler homes.
It remains to be seen whether this changes the fate of Migron and Amona, and whether the homes are ever actually built. My bet is that it will have no effect on the former, and that the homes will be built (or at least started while the current government is in power), but that it will take many years before they are ready.

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