Despite Promises, Homes Razed in Beit El

The government promised to move, not destroy, dozens of homes in Beit El – but gave up and brought in the tractors.

Maayana Miskin ,

Demolition in Ulpana neighborhood
Demolition in Ulpana neighborhood
Israel news photo: Yishai Karov

When dozens of Israeli families were moved from their homes in the town of Beit El, north of Jerusalem, following a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Arab claimants, the government agreed that the homes would be relocated and not destroyed. However, on Tuesday a tractor could be seen at work demolishing the buildings.

The saga began when an Arab man living under the Palestinian Authority filed suit laying claim to the land on which the homes were sitting. The land was purchased from a second Arab man of the same name, who the new claimant argued was not the true owner.

The Supreme Court accepted his claims, although a lower court has yet to rule on the question of ownership.

The homes were to be sawn into 108 pieces and reassembled in a new location. In early November the government asked the Supreme Court for more time, noting that the sawing process was taking longer than expected.

Photographs from Beit El on Tuesday show demolition underway.