Ulpana - Gil Cohen-Magen - June 4, 2012
Residents of the Ulpana neighborhood in the Beit El settlement protest their possible relocation. Photo by Gil Cohen-Magen
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An internationally renowned Israeli expert has stated that a plan to relocate a West Bank neighborhood to state-owned military zone is legally sound.

According to Professor Yoram Dinstein of Tel Aviv University, the relocation of the Ulpana neighborhood in the settlement of Beit El to a nearby military zone captured by the IDF in 1970 will stand the test of Israel’s High Court, as it would be implemented for the purposes of security. This based on the fact that in 1979, Israel’s High Court accepted the argument that Beit El was built for the purpose of security, and that its existence is tied to the security needs of the military.

Dinstein was hastily summoned to Jerusalem on Sunday for meetings between the Prime Minister’s Office, the Defense Ministry and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.

During the discussions Dinstein stated that the High Court would most likely not intervene in such a move, as he believes that there is no difference between the need to protect the residents of Beit El in the large territory that was captured for military purposes in the 1970s, and that of today. He added that it is enough that the IDF announce its presence in the military zone in order to allow the move.

Dinstein further stressed that it was necessary to move the Ulpana neighborhood and relocate its residents, as some of the neighborhood homes do not sit on the area captured by the IDF in 1970.

The final legal recommendation over whether the neighborhood will be moved to the military zone temporarily or for permanently is still unclear. Legal sources believe that the temporary move will also be used to neutralize any criticism from the High Court.

Meanwhile, right-wing activists are about to embark a two-day long march from the settlement to Jerusalem to protest of a possible relocation of the Ulpana neighborhood.