Stunned by High Court Decision, Ulpana Settlers Unwilling to Negotiate Evacuation

Residents of West Bank outpost argue that state must solve their problem; Yesha Settlement Council to convene Tuesday.

Settlers of the Ulpana neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El said Monday that they would not negotiate their evacuation and that it was up to the state to solve their problem, after Israel's High Court ordered the demolition of the outpost go forward.

The state had appealed to the High Court on Friday, requesting it reconsider its decision to evacuate and demolish the illegally-built structures of the Ulpana neighborhood, which were built on private Palestinian land, citing the difficult ramifications an evacuation is likely to have for Beit El residents.

Ulpana outpost, settlement - Reuters - 22.4.12

The settlers were stunned by the High Court's decision, saying they did not expect it would get involved in the affair. They thought the courts would postpone the demolition for two months, as they did for two other Beit El outposts last week.

"We've been done over," one political activist said to Haaretz.

The political activists have no solution for the affair just yet. The Yesha Settlement Council will convene on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the situation, but for now, the Ulpana residents are arguing that it is up to the government to solve their problem, and they are unwilling to negotiate a deal with the state.

On March 1, Minister Benny Begin and the residents of the West Bank outpost Migron reached an agreement for the voluntary evacuation of the settlement, after the state decided on February 26 to fund two temporary housing solutions for the residents of the illegal outpost. Each temporary housing project would cost at least NIS 25 million.

The unanimous cabinet decision came in the wake of a rejection by the High Court of Justice in January of the state's request to postpone that evacuation. The court reaffirmed its order that Migron be evacuated by August 1, 2012.

But Ulpana is not like Migron. In Migron, the settlers were willing to move out of their caravans to permanent housing. In Ulpana, the residents already live in permanent housing, and have settled in their dream homes.