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May 11, 2012     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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May 11, 2012
 

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 11, 2012 " PAGE 13. A. Battle lines drawn in the West Bank's Ulpana neighborhoocl, By Eetta Prince-Gibson BEIT EL, West Bank (JTA) AlexTraiman stands under a tarp in his spacious backyard as his 10-year-old, Tmima, turns cartwheels on the lawn. "This is our home," Traman says, pointing to his single-floor apartment filledwith books and chil- dren's toys. "Ve did not come here to trample on anyone's rights we came here to raise our children with val- ues and ethics and to settle the land of Israel." Through the haze on an unusually cold day in late April, the barren Judean Hills and, farther to the w.est., the modern office towers of the "Palestinian city of Ramallah provide the background for his emotion- filled statements. Traiman, a documentary filmmaker, came to IsrzLel from New York with his family eight years ago, moving to the settlement of Belt El. His apartment is in the U1- pana neighborhood among a block of terraced rows of 14 identical three-story build- ings, each with six apart- ments. Last year, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that five of the buildings, including the Traimans', were to be demolished by May I because a Palestinian resident of a nearby village owns the land. Thestate had specifically told the court that it would obey that ruling. But on April 27, the State Attorney's Office notified the court that the government is reneging on the decision pending a re- view of its policies regarding West Bank structures built on contested and privately owned land. All sides acknowledge that the resolution in Ulpana, however it turns out, will have significant implica- tions for the entire settle- ment enterprise. "With all that is hap- pening-nuclear threats from Iran, instability in Egypt, war in Syria, unrest throughout the world--how have these five buildings, housing 30 dedicated, law- abiding families, become such a flashpoint?" Traiman wants to know. The Ulpana neighborhood grew from a promise that Benjamin Netanyahumade in December 1996. dur- ing his first term as prime minister. Attending the funeral of Eta Tzur and her son. Ephraim. murdered in an ambush shooting not far from their Belt El home. Ne- tanyahu stood by the fresh graves in the small commu- nal cemetery and promised the thousands of mourners that in the Tzurs' memory, a new neighborhood would be built that "would never, ever be evacuated." Eta Tzur's widower, Yoel, a real estate developer work- ing with Amana, the settle- ment movement's construc- tion and housing company, told JTA that he developed the plans for the area and personally investigated the legality of the land purchase. "As a developer and in- with far.reaching implications vestor, of course I wouldn't build here if the land hadn't been legally purchased," he said. "Even though this land was promised to us by God, we purchased the land at its full-market value." Tzur said he cannot reveal the name or other details of the seller because, according to Palestinian law, any Arab who sells land to a Jew will be put to death. Construction began in the late 1990s with the es- tablishment of two religious high schools for girls. (In Hebrew, a religious high school for girls is known as an ulpana, thus providing the neighborhood with its name.) Construction on the apartment houses began in 2003-04, and the first residents moved into their apartments in early 2009. Palestinian residents of the nearby village of Dura Noarn Moskowitz/Flash90/JTA "al-Kara have claimed from The fate of the Ulpana neighborhood is pending a review of Israeli policies on West Bank structures built on contested the beginning, however, that and privately owned land. the land had never been le- gallysold, and Israeli courts thatafraudwas'committed." ter in depth. In late April, have the political clout to government's actions and issued their first stop-work But Shlomy Zacharia, the government decided to influence the government's rejection of court-ordered order in September 1999. one of a team of lawyers authorize three outpostsin decisions." demolitions as a green light Sincethen, numerous stop- representing the palestin- theWestBankretroactively, Not surprisingly, settlers for violent resistance. They work and subsequent de,- ians, insiststhatthesettlers' drawing harsh criticism welcomed the government's may also step up the 'price molition orders have been claims that the issue "is from the international move. tag' attacks," the source issued, merely a land dispute" are community as well as the "We are Jewish patriots, said, referring to attacks by Despite the rulings, a disingenuous, opposition in Israel. and we have Come here to settlers against Palestinian 2005 report prepared by "They have known all In his April 27 letter to live in the spirit of God's property. attorney Talia Sasson for along--even the state has thecourt, the state attorney promise to Jacob, that this Thousands of structures then-Prime Minister Ariel told them that the land is wrote that "the govern- will be our land," Rosen- that the government has. Shar.on reveals that the not theirs," he said. "They ment is pursuing a new baum said. "We are also promised the courts it Construction and Housing areactingoutofideological policy, by which decisions law-abiding citizens, and will demolish are scattered Ministry providedmorethan motivations, and ideologi- regarding structures built we are convinced that the throughout the West Bank, $1million in funding for the cal motivations must never on land whose ownership is government will find a way including the settlements of neighborhood's construe- serve as a justification for contested will be made on to prevent the demolitions, GivatAssaf, slatedfordemo- tion.Moreover, settlers who acts thatare clearly illegal." case-by-case merit after to prevent such a terrible litionby July 1, andAmona, bought apartments in the As May 1 approached, giving due consideration to moral and legal injustice." which is to be demolished by buildings each received gov- the impending demolitions the broad social implica- The situation remains the end of the year. ernment incentive grants threatened to topple Netan- tions the implementation of unclear. As of Tuesday, the In February 2006, the of some $20,000 and Israeli yahu's coalition. With the these policies may have on Supreme Court had not yet attempt by security forces banks issued them mort- scent of elections already future construction." responded to the state's let- to take over nine homes gages underwritten by the wafting in the air, Cabinet Zachariasays the govern-, ter of April 27. in Amona led to clashes in state, ministers and rank-and-file ment "is undoing the rule In a separate case involv- which more than 200 were By.August2008,residents Knesset members from Ne- of law." ing two other illegal build- hurt, including 80 memkers ofDuraal-Kara, assistedby tanyahu'sLikudPartybegan "It is reneging on its ings in Belt El, the state of the security forces. the Israeli human rights staking out increasingly own promises and defying askedfora90-dayextension "This is not merely a mat- organization Yesh Din, pe- right-wing positions, the ruling of the Supreme to reconsider its options; teroflegalities, orjusticeor titionedthe Supreme Court The Cabinet held a series Court," he told JTA. "Fur- the court granted a 60-day private property or even rule askingthattheconstruction of sessions regarding the thermore, itis ignoring the extension, of law," said Danny Dayan, be stopped and the buildings removal of buildings in the rights ofprivate ownership, A military source, speak- chairmanoftheYeshaCoun- notbepopulatecl.Duringthe West Bank built on private which are not only a cor- ing with JTA.on condition cil of Settlements. "Above hearings, the state specifi- Palestinian land and set nerstone of democracy but of anonymity, said the all, it's a matter of whether caily told the courtthat the up a comnttee, headed are especially necessary in military is concerned that we should or should not have Amanacompanyhad.known by retired Justice Edmund a situation like this because extremists among the set- Jewish homes in Judea and that the ostensible Palestin- Levy, to investigate the mat- the Palestinians do not tiers may "interpret the Samaria." ian "seller" did not have the legal right to sell the land. The state offered to de- molish the buildings and, in the last hearing in October 2011, the court issued its final ruling stating that the buildings must be demol- ished by May 1, 2012. A day before that October hearing, Amana filed suit in A Senior Living Community where Hospitality is a Way of Life. the Jerusalem District Court Assisted Living - Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Care demanding that the proper- ty ownership issues be clari- Varietyof Apartment Suite Selections, some with Lake Views fled. However, in issuing its Weekly Happy Hour hosted by the Jewish Pavilion ruling, the Supreme Court stated that based on the MonthlyShabbat Service. state's evidence, the build- Monthly Bagels and Loxluncheon ings should be demolished regardless of the decisions ial Celebrations and Meals during High Holy Holidays in the District Court. Belt El Mayor Moshe Gallus today, stop byfora visit, join us forlunch, or Rosenbaum insists that the i'::: all of the above.  are always weicomel Supreme Court ruling is unjust. "This is merely a land 1301 W. Maitland Blvd. dispute, and it should be settled just like any land dis- Maitland, FL 32751 pute," he said. "And since we ; :!ii:: :i ::i:i':  L,v ,m sua ; 407-645-3990 have acted in good faith, the ww.SavannaheourtMaitland.com buildings should never be Assisted Liing Facility License No, 8447 l demolished. At most, maybe Sailed Nursing Facility License No. 1635096 ]l',.,-iLYOi we should compensate the -. real owners, if it turns out