Ulpana home before demolition
Ulpana home before demolitionHarel Kohen

The State Attorney’s Office asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to postpone by 60 days the deadline that it set for the sawing of the homes of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El.

In the request, the State said that "the process of getting started was accompanied by significant birth pangs, due to the innovativeness of the project, the complexity of its engineering and the lack of experience in similar projects. In this framework, an attempt was made to examine another alternative to moving the structures in their entirety, not by sawing them in two. An investigation revealed that this alternative is not feasible, both for economic reasons as well as because of the topographical conditions.”

Each of the buildings being moved from the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El is supposed to be "sawed" into 108 parts, which will be stored in a special storage site. They will then be reassembled at a new location inside Beit El.

The homes in the Ulpana neighborhood were evacuated and sealed after an Arab man living under the Palestinian Authority claimed ownership of the land they sit on. The land had been purchased from a second Arab man of the same name, but the new claimant said the original seller was not the true owner.

The Supreme Court accepted the man’s suit after a PA court accepted it and ordered the homes demolished. A lower court has yet to rule on the question of ownership.

The residents of the Ulpana neighborhood agreed to leave their homes non-violently. In return, the government promised to build 300 new homes in Beit El and agreed to establish a ministerial committee that will deal with issues regarding the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria (Yehuda and Shomron).

In its request to the Supreme Court, the State noted that “the expectation is that the process of copying the homes will be completed until January 15, 2013. This expectation is based on the fact that the copying process is in full swing, following the birth pangs described above. In addition, it also embodies the necessary safety margins due to possible delays resulting from bad weather in the region, especially wind which can bring about a pause in operating the crane and in the scaffolding work.”

“This extension is necessary in order to fulfill the underlying objectives in the decision to remove the structures by copying them, as much as possible, as specified in a previous request by the State.”