Defense Ministry moves first Ulpana residents

An additional 17 families are set to be relocated later in the week; state asks High Court for extension to remove buildings.

Crane evacuates property at Ulpana 370 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Crane evacuates property at Ulpana 370
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Defense Ministry workers began moving boxes and furniture out of homes in the Ulpana outpost on Tuesday morning, a process that was expected to be completed Thursday.
The evacuation appeared to being going to plan, with 15 families from the outpost peacefully relocating to modular housing in Beit El in keeping with the High Court of Justice mandate that their homes must be relocated by July 1. On Thursday, another 18 families will leave.
A Defense Ministry statement released Tuesday morning said that the operation was being carried out in full coordination, and with the agreement of community leaders and the residents themselves.
Over 100 Defense Ministry employees and contractors were participating in the operation. The ministry added that a team composed of employees and contractors had been assigned to each family. "The Defense Ministry will provide full assistance to the families during the operation, and during their integration into the temporary neighborhood."
Residents of the Beit El settlement north of Jerusalem held a prayer service on Tuesday morning moments before the evacuation began.
The court has ordered the state to act against five apartment buildings and three caravans in Ulpana, which were built without permits on private Palestinian property. The state plans to move the structures onto an authorized tract of land in Beit El, in a process that will take a year.
Tuesday afternoon, the state requested from the High Court a four-and-a-half month extension to move the permanent structures in the outpost.
Residents agreed to peacefully leave their homes in an agreement reached with the state last week. They did so in exchange for assurances from the government that it would build 300 new homes in Beit El and that the state would no longer support the demolition of Jewish homes in the West Bank in its responses to High Court petitions.
Sign: Jews do not evacuate other Jews (Tovah Lazaroff)Sign: Jews do not evacuate other Jews (Tovah Lazaroff)
Ulpana residents objected to the term “voluntary evacuation,” since theirs was a forced and painful removal even if they were leaving peacefully.
They promised to continue to build and develop Judea and Samaria with the same determination which had brought them to Ulpana.