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Settlers Close to Deal To Leave Willingly

Government representatives and representatives of residents of the Ulpana neighborhood reportedly are close to a deal under which the families would leave voluntarily.

Chief Rabbi of Beit El, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, told Israeli media that a deal is close to completion. Meetings were set to continue on Tuesday.

Melamed told Ynet that if finalized the deal would include “significant achievements” for settlers.

Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in September that at least five apartment buildings in the neighborhood should be razed, siding with a lawsuit filed by Palestinians who said they owned the land. A deadline of July 1 is set for the evacuation.

Under the terms of the agreement reported in Israeli media, 10 apartment buildings each housing 30 families will be built in Beit El on the grounds of a Border Guard base at the entrance to the settlement. In addition, the government reportedly will ask Israel’s Supreme Court for a three-moth postponement of the eviction, in order to remove the five buildings intact to land that is not contested.

Melamed last week called for a “decisive struggle” against the evacuation of the five apartment buildings housing 30 families. In a public letter issued last week, Melamed called for “dedication and sacrifice,” and said the struggle should consist of dialogue as well as protest.

During the meeting at Melamed’s home in Beit El, the cars of Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan the director-general of the Amana housing company Ze’ev Hever were vandalized.

The meeting came on the same day as Israel police participated in a large-scale drill in preparation for the evacuation of the neighborhood.

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