Bet El’s Ulpana Neighborhood: The Background & Facts
The following is a timeline and a presentation of the relevant facts as the demolition of homes in Beit El's Ulpana neigborhood draws near.
Jews Return to Bet El
The return of the Jewish People to Samaria (the biblical heartland of Israel also known as the West Bank) began in 1976, nine years after the 6-Day War. Ancient Jewish towns were rebuilt after a 1900-year exile. It was the epitome of the Zionist dream, and many observers declared it the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Land for the historical undertaking was acquired in different ways. For example, some Jewish towns were built on state-owned land, while other desolate hills were expropriated by the government for security reasons and partially used for civilian residences adjacent to IDF bases. In yet other instances, land was purchased by local Jewish residents from their Arab neighbors.
Bet El Purchases Land To Add On to Ulpana Neighborhood
In 2000, Bet El Institutions, under the direction of Rabbi Zalman Melamed and Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz, sought to purchase 30 dunams (7.4 acres) of land on a barren, rugged slope adjacent to the modern town of Bet El. This property, also known as Block 5 Plot 34, was recorded in the land registry as belonging to Ibrahim Mustafa Hasan Hasan from the neighboring Arab village Dura El Kara.
Bet El Institutions found the land owner, who now goes by the name Ibrahim Juda Mustafa Hasan. Bet El verified through several channels that he was indeed the land owner; Bet El holds a letter from the Dura El Kara Village Council stating that Ibrahim Juda Mustafa Hasan is Ibrahim Mustafa Hasan Hasan.
Bet El Founder Ketzaleh raised a large sum of money and on June 29, 2000, the contract was signed. The money was handed to Ibrahim, and the documents were notarized all in accordance with Israeli law and practice. No one today disputes this fact.
Ibrahim Hasan – Let Live or Die
When Bet El came to record its name as owners of the 7.4 acres in the Land Registry, senior civil servants in the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria as well as an officer in the IDF (names withheld) strongly urged Bet El to postpone the action. They said that Arab groups would issue a death warrant for Ibrahim the land seller, whereas delaying the process would increase his chances of survival.
Bet El had no interest is seeing Ibrahim hanging from a telephone pole as can happen in such circumstances. “But how can we build on the property without first recording ownership in the registry,” the Bet El developers asked.