Meretz to petition against state’s Ulpana request

Gal-On: State's request to court to release it from taking down homes shows A-G, prosecutor have "failed morally."

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The Meretz party plans to petition the High Court of Justice on Sunday to reject the state’s request that it re-open the case against the 30 unauthorized homes in the Ulpana outpost slated for demolition.
Last May the state promised the court that it would remove the homes by Tuesday in response to a 2008 petition by Yesh Din on behalf of the Palestinian land owners who claim that the structures are built on their property. In September, the court closed the case. But on Friday the state asked the court to reopen it and release the state from its pledge to take down the homes.
Meretz Party head MK Zehava Gal-On said the state’s request with regard to the Ulpana showed that, “the attorney-general and the prosecutor’s office have failed morally and professionally.”
Yesh Din’s attorney Michael Sfard, who represented the Palestinian property owners, said Friday that the government of Israel had declared war on the rule of law and the court.
He added that no private citizen would be allowed to re-open a case which had already been ruled on. The state’s request to delay the demolition of Ulpana breaks all the rules and laws of the game, he said.
“In order to help settlers steal Palestinian lands, the government is ready to crush the basic principles upon which Israeli society is based,” Sfard stated.
But on Friday, Vice Premier Silvan Shalom showed his support for the Ulpana and the state’s request by visiting the outpost, located on the outskirts of the Beit El settlement. He called on the government to authorize the homes.
Shalom told its residents that he hoped a legal solution could be found that would allow Ulpana residents to remain in their homes, but barring this, legislation could be passed legalizing the outpost.
“Evacuating these residents would be unacceptable,” he said.
In a statement they released to the media, Ulpana residents said they hoped the state and the government make good on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s words in the past month that their homes not be destroyed.
They noted that their outpost was built with financial support from the government and that its residents had received grants and mortgages to buy their homes.