Ulpana, high drama in the wild wild West (Bank)

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Israeli has legalised the status of three settlement outposts in the West Bank Photo: AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

Israel has reneged on its pledge to demolish Ulpana, an illegal outpost built on Palestinian land just a stones throw from the religious nationalist settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the West Bank. The reversal is happening days before the anticipated court-ordered demolition May 1st.

Political intrigue ensues, for the threatened demolition had endangered Netanyahu’s Likud-coalition government, attracted international outrage and condemnation, gathered a cast of unsavory characters, and driven Haaretz editorial staff to reference Netanyahu and most of his ministers as “career criminals..undaunted by condemnation or punishment” and call for him to dissolve the government:

If Netanyahu feels he lacks the political power to obey the High Court’s directives he must dissolve the government and demand an electoral mandate for its peace and settlement policies.

All of this is taking place during a week of Israel birthday festivities that are dominating the international press and helping to mask the story of the court case set for next Tuesday. We’ve got to blast this injustice to the far reaches of the blogosphere between now and next Tuesday so the whole world is perched on the edge of their seats witnessing the political drama/injustice unfold as Israel flips the law in favor of the outpost once again, this time to save Netanyahu’s prospects of solidifying his (religious nationalist) grip over the government. Just last week he said the destruction of the neighborhood would be “an edict that the public will not be able to tolerate.”

I have to wonder: Will the Zion squares be discussing this? The liberal Zionists all over the American press who say the settlements and Israel’s expansion are killing the state? Let’s see. Because this is it, we’re on settlement watch 101 and this is how it comes down.


The attorney general, Yehuda Weinstein, will ask the supreme court to delay an order to evacuate and demolish five apartment buildings at Ulpana, on the edge of the Beit El settlement. The case is due to be heard before Tuesday’s deadline for evacuation.

The government had earlier given a commitment to carry out the order, saying it did not approve settlement construction on private land. ….But vigorous lobbying – including threats to bring down the coalition – by pro-settler members of the ruling Likud party, smaller rightwing parties and government ministers led prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu to seek ways to avoid confrontation on the issue.


Scores of politicians, including cabinet ministers, have visited Ulpana to pledge opposition to the supreme court order. Moshe Yaalon, minister for strategic affairs, warned at the weekend: “We said we wouldn’t evacuate the neighbourhood. Should this happen, the government will fall.”

As for the unsavory characters, listen to NPR’s audio coverage: West Bank Outpost Ignites Political Battle. You’ll hear an American accent from the last interviewee benignly claiming 

I want to protect my family. I’m trying to provide a good life for my kids.” 

Who is this guy? I googled his name, Alex Traiman, and lo and behold, it’s the movie director at Clarion Fund — Islamophobic Group Clarion Fund Lends Film Footage For Viral Video Pushing Iran Attack— just wanting to provide a good life for his kids. Traiman’s been very busy lately, he’s directing a war mongering film, he’s been living in Beit El settlement on the West Bank. Plus he’s found time to move on down the road to ‘settle’ Ulpana, and talk to NPR too. 

Where are the liberal Zionists? I’d like to see Netanyahu try and avoid confrontation with the Beinart contingent of the  American Jewish community. Are they going to step up to the plate between now (three illegal settlements flipped to legal status this week, international law notwithstanding) and next Tuesday?

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“Where are the liberal Zionists? ” All those better late than never folks can come out and say well “we tried” 5 decades to late

RE: “Where are the liberal Zionists? I’d like to see Netanyahu try and avoid confrontation with the Beinart contingent of the American Jewish community. Are they going to step up to the plate between now …and next Tuesday? ~ Annie Robbins SEE – Dear liberal American Jews: Please don’t betray Israel, by Dahlia Scheindlin, +972 Magazine, 2/14/12: (excerpts). . . After two weeks in America visiting family and friends, two observations struck me powerfully. First,… Read more »

Well, looks like there could be elections this year in Israel too.