Palestinians petition High Court against Ulpana outpost

Petitioners from the village Dura-al-Kara say outpost homes built on private Palestinian property.

June 5, 2013 02:26
1 minute read.
Ulpana outpost near Beit El

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Palestinians on Tuesday petitioned the High Court of Justice against the remaining nine stone buildings in the Ulpana outpost, located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement, according to Israeli activist Dror Etkes.

Last summer the Civil Administration destroyed five of the 14 buildings located in the outpost, after the nongovernmental organization Yesh Din appealed to the HCJ in 2008 against the homes, claiming they were illegally built on private Palestinian land from the nearby village of Dura-al-Kara.

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The court accepted the state’s finding that the land was private Palestinian property and ordered the destruction of the five stone apartment buildings, each of which housed six families.

The Ulpana residents agreed to leave the homes after a deal was reached in which the government would build 300 new homes for the Beit El settlement.

Now the Palestinians, with the Etkes’ help, have appealed to the court to remove the remaining nine buildings in the Ulpana outpost, located on land, which they say also belongs to them.

Etkes said the Palestinians were encouraged to petition the court because Yesh Din succeeded in its petition.

“The land belongs to the Palestinians and the state has not done anything to remove the settlers,” Etkes said.

According to the 2005 government- commissioned report on West Bank outposts by attorney Talia Sasson, the Ulpana was first created in 1995 without permits on private Palestinian property outside the boundary of Beit El. She added that the Construction and Housing Ministry spent NIS 4.5 million on infrastructure for the outpost.

Many Ulpana residents who purchased the homes did not know that they were outside the settlement’s boundaries or that they lacked permits. They received bank mortgages and government grants to help with the purchase of their homes.

The Ulpana spokesman could not be reached for comment.

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