Israel Asks Court to Delay Deadline for Demolition of West Bank Neighborhood

In appeal to High Court of Justice, state says evacuation of settlers from Beit El's Ulpana Hill neighborhood will take place within a week, but asks demolition of buildings to be put off for 18 weeks.

Israel's State Attorney requested that the High Court delay the dismantling of the Ulpana neighborhood in the settlement of Beit El by four and a half months.

The request was made in order to give the government over four months to dismantle the structures into 18 parts, or what is commonly referred to as the "shells." It is unclear whether the structures can physically be reconstructed.

According to the State Attorney, the dismantling of the buildings of all humans and objects must take place by July 1. However, the dismantling process, which includes planning and disassembling the structures, as well as implementation, is slated to begin in July but is expected to be finished in November.

The State Attorney's appeal was joined by affidavits from the government secretary, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the West Bank, and the deputy director general of the Defense Ministry Bezalel Treiber, who heads the project.

According to the appeal, the government is attempting to lower the potential risk of confrontation with the residents and wishes to relocate the buildings, and not demolish them.

In response to the request, attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the Palestinians who own the land upon which the neighborhood was built, said that the request was "submitted to the landowners only minutes before they were submitted to the court, with a request for an immediate response."

Sfard lamented the government's actions, saying it was "a shame that, once more, the state is positioning the sides before established facts whose significance is the violation of orders from the High Court, and all this without attaching an evacuation plan." 

Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El
Emil Salman
Removing chattel from the Ulpana houses.
Removing household items from the Ulpana homes.
Taking some last pictures for the album before leaving Ulpana.
Praying in Ulpana before the evacuation yesterday.