Last updated: 20 June, 2012

Israel and settlers reach deal on outpost neighbourhood

The Israeli government and residents of an outpost neighbourhood agreed on the peaceful evacuation of five buildings ahead of an imminent demolition order, a Wednesday statement from the premier’s office read.

On Sunday, a new forum of ministers aimed at preempting any possible future court challenges to settlement outposts in the West Bank was formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and headed by him.

The committee’s first meeting on Wednesday was dedicated to the Ulpana neighbourhood of Beit El, home to 30 families which Israel’s High Court has ordered razed by July 1 because it is built on private Palestinian land.

“In accordance with the solution that has been agreed upon with the residents, the five buildings will be moved,” the statement read. “Until the move is completed, the residents will live in mobile homes into which it will be possible to move next week.”

The statement also noted that the state would request the court “to allow three months for the structures to be moved from their present location.”

Earlier this month Netanyahu blocked the passing of a law that would have prevented the demolition of the Ulpana buildings. Later in the day Netanyahu announced his intention to build 851 new living units in the West Bank, 300 of them within Beit El.

Israeli police were bracing for violent confrontations with settlers opposed to the Ulpana evacuation. The Wednesday agreement, acknowledged by the residents in a statement, will likely diminish the chances for unrest.