We are not strangers in Beit El. We are not strangers in Judea and Samaria. This is the Land of our Patriarchs. This is where our identity was formed. I say this here in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, and I say this everywhere in the world. Netanyahu remarks on Ulpana issue- Jerusalem June 6, 2012.
On June 5, 2012, and after a prolonged night meeting with the “Israeli Attorney General” Yehuda Weinstein, the Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu approved a plan to transfer the houses in the illegal outpost of Ulpana to a nearby former Israeli military base in an attempt to legalize the illegal outpost instead of dismantling it.
The story of Ulpana started in the year 1995 when a group of Israeli settlers installed the outpost outside the Israeli boundary of the illegal settlement of Beit ‘Il. The outpost located about 200 meters east of Beit IL settlement on a hilltop called Jabal Artis owned by Palestinian residents from Ramallah Governorate.
In the year 2002, group of Israeli settlers along with their families started to expand the outpost where it holds today more than 30 housing units (built with cement and stone) in addition to other facilities. According to “Sasson report” which is an official Israeli government report prepared by the former head of the State Prosecution Criminal Department, Talia Sasson, and published on March 8, 2005, Ulpana outpost was deemed illegal and marked to be dismantled, instead it received financial support up to 4.5 million NIS to the time the report was prepared, mainly from the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction.
In the year 2002 the Palestinian owners of the lands where the settlement is constructed submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice after the Israeli settlers started with the cement construction on their lands and in parallel the Israeli settlers submitted documents for the court to prove their ownership of the land where the Israeli court didn’t accept the documents and issued a final decision to dismantle the outpost. See Map 1
However, the Israeli settlers and government officials kept stalling for time to postpone the court’s decision until September 2011 when the Israeli court issued a decision to dismantle the outpost by May 1, 2012 based on a government meeting held earlier in May 2011 that described the construction in Ulpana illegal and should be removed within one year of that meeting.
However, on April 27, 2012, and just few days prior to the deadline, the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu and a forum of ministers decided in a meeting to reconsider the evacuation order of May 1, 2012, and announced that his government would not evacuate the illegal outpost of Ulpana northeast of the settlement of Beit Il despite the fact that this outpost classified illegal according to the Israeli measures, where it was built on private Palestinian lands. Moreover, the Israeli PM asked the 'Attorney General of the State of Israel', Yehuda Weinstein, to find a solution that will end with the legalization of the illegal outpost to prevent the demolition of about 30 housing units in the outpost and that’s exactly what was happened in June 5, 2012 when Netanyahu came out with his innovative and magical solution to grant the settlers of Ulpana permission to build new 300 housing units in the new site where the relocation of the outpost will take place in the nearby Beit Il settlements; a step viewed as gesture to ideological pioneers of the Israeli settlers, which earned him (Netanyahu) the nickname“ God Father of the settlements and settlers” .
In light of US & International Apathy
As a matter of fact, Netanyahu derives his dare and excesses to move forward with his colonial and expansionist projects from the appalling US and International silence, where he reads in the defeatist and laggards’ responses, which is most often didn’t go beyond the condemnation and denunciation from the International community, as a green light to bypass the international law and build more settlements and outposts.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians may not want a peace agreement and I fear that the window of opportunity for a deal is closing.
The United States Presidents Bark Obama addressing in a meeting with the Orthodox Jewish leaders in Washington, June 5, 2012.
Unfortunately, these are the words that Netanyahu needs to hear especially from the President of the United States where it actually constitute a green light for him to move forward with his colonial desires while the Palestinians committed to the International law rules and conventions that classified the Israeli settlements and the outposts established since the year 1967 until now illegal and must be dismantled including those in the occupied eastern part of the city of Jerusalem.
Novelty Innovative Approach by Netanyahu
In light of the aforementioned elements Netanyahu doesn’t see any justification to retreat from his plans concerning settlements, where this was not the first time he manipulated the International community about legalizing the illegal settlements and outposts where just two months ago and on April 17, 2012 he approved plans to legalize three illegal settlements in the West Bank after receiving recommendations approved by the Defense Minister Ehud Barak to formalize the status of Bruchin, Rechalim and Sensana settlements in the West Bank, and according to which ,Netanyahu proposed for Bruchin settlement (Nablus) to be part of Eli Zahav (2 km between them) while Rechalim settlement (Nablus) to be part of Kfar Taphuh settlement (1.5 km) and Sensana settlement (Hebron) to be part of Ashkelot settlement (2.5 km).
Another example for Netanyahu’s manipulation is Migron Outpost which is an illegal outpost established in April 1999 on a hilltop adjacent to the Palestinian Deir Dibwan and Burka villages east of Ramallah Governorate. The outpost is located about 7 kilometers east of the city of Ramallah and 2.5 kilometers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Kockav Yaakov. The Palestinian owners of the lands were the outpost installed submitted a petitions for the Israeli High Court of Justice demanding the eviction of the Israeli settlers from the site, since 100 dunums from the lands are owned by them (80 dunums from Deir Dibwan and 20 dunums from Burka village), and they have the proper documents of ownership for the lands. In December 2006, the Israeli court responded to the Palestinian petitions and called for the dismantling of Migron outpost because it was built on 'private Palestinian lands' and the settlers did not get an authorization to build the outpost, hence the Israeli Ministry of Defense had 60 days to voluntary evacuate the outpost from the Israeli settlers.
Since that time, the successive Israeli governments failed to execute the eviction order which was reaffirmed on August 2, 2011, by the Israeli Supreme court with a final decision calling Netanyahu’s government to dismantle Migron outpost within six months of the court’s decision, by the end of March 2012. accordingly, Netanyahu decided to bypass the court’s decision with his magical solutions and was able to reach a compromise on February 13, 2012, after long negotiations with the settlers' leaders in which the settlers of Migron outpost will stay in their houses in the outpost for the two coming years, and after this period the Israeli government will build a new neighborhood within Kockav Yaakov settlement’s master plan, some 2.5 kilometers away from the current site of the outpost. To read more about Migron outpost issue refer to the previously written case study: Innovative Plans for the Interest of the Israeli Colonial Project in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 17, February, 2012.
Ma’ale Adumim settlement was another example of the Israeli maneuvering ways to loot Palestinian lands where the settlement started out originally as a military base used by the Israeli Occupation Forces until the year 1975 when 23 Israeli families installed an outpost in the site until it became the largest illegal settlement in the West Bank with a population exceeds 40,000 Israeli settlers.
These examples show us that there is an exchange of roles between several levels of the Israeli Occupation Authorities to serve the interest of the Israeli settlers where Israeli government officials along with the Israeli Civil Administration and the Prime Minister Bureau constitute the main pillars of such plots against the Palestinian lands.
Legal & International Status
What the peace process needs now is a firm strict and crucial steps to make Israel to comply with the International legitimacy formatted by the United Nation Security Council Resolutions and to the International law and Convections:
United Nations Security Council Resolutions such as 237 (1967), 271 (1969), 446 (1979), 452 (1979) ,465 (1980).
UNSC Resolution 452 of 1979: 'Calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab occupied Territory since 1967, including Jerusalem.'
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949: 'the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the Territory it occupies.'
The Forth Geneva Convention in Article 174 also prohibits the 'extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.'
Article XXXI, Oslo II, 1995: 'Neither side shall take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The Roadmap of Peace signed on April 30, 2003, between Israel and the Palestinians (originally developed by the United States, in cooperation with Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations (the Quartet)) under which the Israeli Government agreed to freeze all settlement, indicated that: The -Government of Israel- immediately dismantles settlement outposts erected since March 2001, and, consistent with the Mitchell Report, [Government of Israel] freezes all settlement activity (including natural growth of settlements).The plan was adopted by the USCR 1515-2003.
In May 2001, the head of the International Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories said that settlements are 'equal in principle to war crimes'. (Note: 'The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a 'grave breach.' It's a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes', Rene Kosirnik, head of the ICRC delegation to Israel and the OPT, press conference 17 May 2001.)