Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The ULPANA Files

 Ulpana in Beit El

Photo: Haaretz


Israel's Supreme Court decided that the ULPANA neighbourhood in Beit El has to be evacuated. Reason: Palestinians from a nearby village sued the small town of Beit El and thus filed a complaint at the Supreme Court. 

Beit El is a national religious town, approx. 15 km north of Jerusalem. About 5800 people live there and in 1999, a new neighbourhood called ULPANA was built. Today, approx. 84 families live in Ulpana and Beit El is fighting against an evacuation of the neighbourhood. 

Benjamin Netanyahu wants to help but also claims that he is bound to respect the verdict of the High Court. As we all know, the Supreme Court tends to left - wing ideology and if it comes to Israel's left oder Palestinians sueing the Israeli govenrment, the court favours the left. No wonder that Beit El lost the High Court case. 

Netanyahu favours a solution with, at least, five Ulpana houses taken apart and rebuild a few hundred meters further on the legal land of Beit El. The costs would be enormous: 14 million Shekels (approx. 3,6 million $ Dollar).

The Ulpana case is extremely complicated and, these days, I am going to speak to a few representatives from Beit El residing in a protest tent in Jerusalem's government district. Furthermore, I am planning a trip to Beit El in order to see the location myself. It sounds rather strange to me that when Ulpana was built in 1999, the Palestinians were not protesting but only years later. Suddenly they claimed that the new Jewish neighbourhood had been built on their property.

Here are a few pictures of the protest tent near the Knesset

"Netanyahu, we are not from Sudan !"
Referring to the illegal African problem in Tel Aviv. Meaning that the inhabitants of Ulpana cannot just be deported like illegal foreigners.

The protest tent

Copyright / Photos: Miriam Woelke

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