After Wednesday's eviction
of the Machpelah house in Hebron, the settlers are gearing up for their next battle over the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, set to be evicted by May 1. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said
he would try to legalize the neighborhood, as well as three other settlements: Rechelim and Bruchin in the West Bank and Sansana in south Mount Hebron.
The settlers however remain suspicious and view an eviction of Ulpana as a possible watershed.
Only three of the Ulpana neighborhood's private buildings are disputed. The High Court of Justice ruled that they must be evicted by May 1.
"If anyone needs to learn a lesson from what happened today it's the government, the Likud
and Netanyahu," Ulpana spokesman Harel Cohen said. "The people will not tolerate the destruction of 30 apartments that Barak himself sanctioned and encouraged residents to occupy with various grants."
Cohen said that what raised his concern is Netanyahu's instruction to the Attorney General to review the settlements' status. "Netanyahu is capable of anything after this," he said. "We're comforted by the fact that should the neighborhood be razed, then the government will be dismantled too. That is why we don't believe it will happen."
Cohen noted that if the order to go ahead with the eviction is given, "it won't be any different than any other situation in which a person is being removed from their home.
"It's clear that Barak will be doing this while foaming at the mouth, but Likud officials told us that they made it clear to Netanyahu that this is the point of no return and if he carries out this eviction he is committing political suicide," he said.
Gershon Mesika, the head of Samaria Regional Council, where many of the disputed settlements are located, does not believe that they will share the same fate as Machpelah house.
"We are not even considering the possibility of uprooting these places under legal grounds. We're talking about prosperous communities that house more than 200 families. The defense minister, motivated by cynical and political considerations, refuses to legalize their status."
Yesha Council Head Danny Dayan slammed the government, saying "we elected a prime minister, not a drone that will circle above us and will be controlled by Ehud Barak.
"Evicting these communities sounds delusional. It will be a catastrophe and we will battle it with determination," he noted.