On Tuesday Israeli officials started removing the illegal Ulpana settlement outpost, built on privately-owned Palestinian lands, close to the Beit El settlement near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Israel vowed to build hundreds of new housing units in the West Bank in exchange to relocating the settlers.
Ynet News reported that officials of the Defense Ministry, in addition to contractors and movers, arrived at the settlement early on Tuesday to oversee the eviction.
The removal of the homes comes after the Israeli High Court backed a decision made by the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu to relocate 33 families, including 16 families that will be relocated Tuesday.
In exchange for their relocation the Israeli government has pledged to expand the existing Beit El settlement with over 300 new housing units. The settlements themselves are illegal under international law, but the Israeli government has refused to recognize numerous judgements against its colonization of the West Bank.
Ynet quoted officials of the Israeli Defense Ministry stating that the eviction and relocation is expected to be concluded this Friday.
Ynet also reported that the Rabbi of Beit El, Zalman Melamed, stated during morning prayers that the settlers “will be returning to these homes”, adding that “the land of Israel will be rebuilt”.
Five households will be moved on Tuesday and relocated a few hundred meters away inside the boundaries of the Beit El settlement.
Rabbi Melamed said that the settlers will not resort to violence during the eviction, and that they pledged to resist peacefully. The rabbi played an important role in the reaching agreement with the government regarding the relocation of the settlers.
The Israeli army said it ordered a high alert due to the possibility of “Price Tag” attacks carried out by the settlers. Price Tag attacks are carried out against the Palestinians, their property, and even against holy sites in Palestine.