Israel Starts Court-Ordered Evacuation of Homes in West Bank Settlement
Israel began evacuating Jewish families Tuesday from homes in this settlement that were built on private Palestinian land — a move ordered by Israel’s Supreme Court that has pitted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against the settlers and their backers in his governing coalition.
The first of 30 families to leave the Ulpana neighborhood did not resist, in keeping with an agreement between the government and the settlers on a peaceful evacuation. Teams of workers from the Israeli Defense Ministry packed up the settlers’ belongings and moved them to temporary housing in prefabricated dwellings erected in an emptied border police base next to the settlement.
“This is a black day for us,” said Amir Dana, a father of five, as cranes lifted furniture out of the homes. “This is a moral and legal injustice, but we’re peaceful people. None of us wanted a fight among brothers and a confrontation with police and soldiers.”
Like the other evacuees, Dana wore a black T-shirt that said, “Expelled from my home. We’ll be back.”
The scenes contrasted sharply with previous evictions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in which settlers put up passive or active resistance. The Ulpana settlers, who are religiously observant, said they complied with the directive of a prominent rabbi at Beit El, Zalman Melamed, who counseled them to avoid a violent confrontation.