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Ulpana residents agree to leave peacefully

JTA

June 20, 2012 | 4:45 pm

Jewish settler youths in the Ulpana neighbourhood of the Beit El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 18. Photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Jewish settler youths in the Ulpana neighbourhood of the Beit El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 18. Photo by REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

An Israeli government committee approved a compromise agreement with the families of the Ulpana neighborhood under which they would leave voluntarily.

Under the agreement approved Wednesday, the five buildings in the outlying neighborhood in the West Bank settlement of Beit El that were found to be built on privately owned Palestinian land will be moved. Until the move is completed, the 30 families being evacuated will live in mobile homes, starting next week. Israel’s Supreme Court will be asked to allow more time for the buildings to be moved rather than razed.

In addition, 300 new apartments will be built on an evacuated Border Police base that will be annexed to Beit El.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly stressed that the agreement is not a precedent for future evacuations of West Bank outposts.

“At the outset, we set two goals: upholding the law and strengthening the settlement movement. This outline meets both of these,” Netanyahu said in a statement issued from his office.

The Supreme Court had ruled in September that at least five apartment buildings in the neighborhood bordering Beit El should be razed, siding with a lawsuit filed by Palestinians who said they owned the land. A deadline of July 1 was set for the evacuation.

Many were concerned that the evacuation would turn violent.

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