Israel settlers begin to quit unauthorized outpost

BEIT EL, West Bank Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:45am EDT

1 of 7. A Jewish settler recites morning prayers before some families began moving out of the Ulpana neighbourhood of the Beit El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah June 26, 2012. Settlers on Tuesday began moving out of apartment blocs that Israel's Supreme Court ruled had been built illegally on Palestinian-owned land, after reaching an agreement with the government to go quietly.

Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner

BEIT EL, West Bank (Reuters) - Settlers on Tuesday began moving out of apartment blocs that Israel's Supreme Court ruled had been built illegally on Palestinian-owned land, after reaching an agreement with the government to go quietly.

A promise by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government to build 851 new homes for settlers in the occupied West Bank, including 300 near the unauthorized enclave where the evictions were taking place, smoothed the way to the deal last week.

Sixteen of the 30 families in the contested Ulpana neighborhood of the Beit El settlement were due to leave their homes on Tuesday, and the rest by the end of the week.

The court had ruled that five Ulpana apartment blocs must be torn down by July 1, landing Netanyahu, whose core constituency is pro-settlement, in a political and legal minefield.

Netanyahu had proposed a plan that would avoid demolishing the homes, by instead cutting through their foundations and moving them to another part of the settlement where no land ownership claim was pending in court.

Hours after the evacuation began on Tuesday, the government petitioned the Supreme Court for more time, asking to move the soon-to-be-empty buildings off the land by November 15, a Justice Ministry spokesman said.

Israel is already hard-put to defend settlement activity in the face of world opinion. Palestinians, who seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, fear the enclaves built on land Israel captured in a 1967 war will deny them a viable country.

Some 311,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank. The United Nations deems all settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Israel disputes this and has sanctioned 120 settlements, most of them built on land that had no registered owner when it was seized in 1967.

Settlers, some wearing shirts with the slogan "Ulpana neighborhood, we will return" watched glumly as removal men hauled boxes out of their homes to take to their temporary housing in a nearby military camp.

"We are happy about the addition of a new residential neighborhood in Beit El, which is three times the size of the neighborhood here," said Baruch Gordon, an Ulpana settler.

"On the other hand, we are very, very deeply saddened at what in our eyes is a tremendous injustice - the decision of the Supreme Court."

Palestinians have made a freeze on Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem a condition for returning to peace talks, which broke down over the issue in 2010.

Israel, which cites biblical and historical links to the areas, says the issue of settlements should be decided through negotiations, and that the Palestinians should resume talks without preconditions.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Pravin Char)

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Comments (5)
ATAT8080 wrote:
Every Jew thrown out of Israel will be one less innocent Jew killed by radical Islamic nuclear bombs.
The Jews pushed out of Germany in the 30′s – they were the lucky ones.

He who forgets history is doomed to repeat it.

What would you tell the Jews in Germany if you could go back to 1936?

If I am proven right that the next Holocaust will last five minutes, nobody on earth would say I had some special insight, nobody would think I was magical or a prophet.

Nobody on earth would find it “a complete surprise”.

We would be shocked if Mexico City were nuked. Nobody will be surprised when ten Israeli cities are destroyed in minutes. Saddened, yes. Surprised? Don’t be ridiculous.

What I find ridiculous is how many people think God will intervene.

He didn’t do so at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, He didn’t do so in Europe 70 years ago, He didn’t do so during the Crusades when one third of all Jews were killed…

God lets these things happen all the time.

Everyone dies, it’s only a question of how.

Jun 26, 2012 12:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
jaguar6cy wrote:
There is nothing wrong with Israeli settlement expansion, as long as Palestinians have the right to build an equal number of settlements inside Israel. This, of course, will never be tolerated. Until then close all settlements.

Jun 26, 2012 12:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:
@ATAT8080

What would you tell the Jews in Germany if you could go back to 1936?
It would not do any good to tell them anything-now or then they will not listen. I think God used the words stiff necked.

Jun 26, 2012 12:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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