Israel to House Ulpana Evictees in Unauthorized Outpost Buildings

Deputy AG cites 'urgent military requirements' to waive the need for any building permit for the mobile homes to which the occupants of the West Bank homes are slated to move.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Citing "urgent military requirements," Deputy Attorney General Mike Balas has waived the need for any building permit for the mobile homes to which the occupants of the Ulpana homes are slated to move by the end of the month.

As previously reported in Haaretz, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein last week approved a plan to move residents of the five apartment buildings in the outpost of the Beit El settlement slated for demolition because they were built on privately owned Palestinian land to a nearby tract of land that was appropriated by the state in 1970 for military use. The plot is now part of an army base.

By law, a Civil Administration committee must approve any such building, and only after allowing 14 days during which the public can submit objections to the proposal. A committee meeting scheduled for May 31 was canceled, presumably for political reasons.

GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, in consultation with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz and in coordination with Balas, agreed to allow the earthworks needed to ready the site for the 35 mobile homes to go ahead without the procedures required by law. Tractors leased by the Defense Ministry began work on the site last week.

In allowing the work to start without the necessary zoning approval process, Balas cited a law permitting construction for military purposes without need of permits. The law is intended to allow for the urgent building of military facilities such as earthwork barriers or positions for guarding roads.

Balas cited the "urgent and immediate military need" to put up the civilian accommodations, adding that they must be erected "quickly and urgently in order to preserve public order and security in the area."

In so doing, Balas has broken a 33-year tradition of not citing military requirements to justify the construction of civilian housing.

In a response, the Justice Ministry said the construction work "complies with international law and with the desire of the authorities to carry out the Supreme Court ruling in a spirit of peace and cooperation."

The response of the Israel Defense Forces spokesman's office was similar.

On a related issues, work on a temporary camp for residents of the Migron outpost is proceeding apace. In April the cabinet approved an allocation of NIS 53 million for the construction of two temporary housing sites for evictees from Migron. One of the temporary sites, known as the Yekev compound, is about two kilometers from Migron, alongside the permanent site selected for the Migron settlers. The Yekev site had originally been zoned as a tourist site, but an extraordinary order expediting the site's rezoning for housing was issued, and the temporary plan is expected to be approved by June 15.

The Mukhmas local council submitted an objection to the plan. If the proposal is not approved by the deadline, the Migron evictees will be moved to the Adam settlement. Massive earthworks are taking place in both sites, around the clock, in order to complete the temporary camp by August 1, the eviction deadline set by the High Court of Justice.

Protesters set out on a three-day march from the West Bank outpost of Ulpana, June 4, 2012.Credit: Reuters
Protesters set out on a three-day march from the West Bank outpost of Ulpana, June 4, 2012Credit: Emil Salman
Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi



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