The evacuation of five homes from the Givat Ulpana illegal outpost began as planned early Tuesday morning.
Eight trucks hired by the Defense Ministry to move the families’ belongings entered the settlement at about 7:45 a.m. with the evacuation process expected to continue into the afternoon.
Roughly half of the 33 families living in the outpost were to begin moving to temporary housing at an army base near the outpost, with the rest set to evacuate on Thursday.
Eight families will leave in the morning and eight in the afternoon.
No security forces are present in the outpost, a sign of the Defense Ministry’s trust that the evacuation won’t lead to violence.
“We don’t believe in clashing with security personnel,” resident Michal Kramer told Israel Radio Tuesday morning.
The families had come to an agreement with government negotiators to leave peacefully, despite earlier vows to resist removal from their homes. Four families say they won’t leave under their own power, but will allow themselves to be carried out, in a last-ditch passive protest.
Settlers began their last morning in the neighborhood with a special outdoor prayer service next to the homes slated to be demolished, before the trucks moved in.
On Monday, the families published a letter saying that while they were leaving without violence, they were not abandoning the hillside voluntarily.
“We’ve reached the point of no return. We’re not happy, and we’re not leaving willingly,” Yair and Rachel Zadok, one of the couples being evacuated, told Army Radio Tuesday morning.
National Union MK Yaakov Katz, on hand at Ulpana, said the evacuation was unprecedented destruction.
Beit El Rabbi Zalman Melamed led a morning prayer service ahead of the eviction: “God willing, there will be an even bigger neighborhood here. We will return to these homes and the land of Israel will be rebuilt,” he told the worshippers.
Ahead of the relocation, which will see five contested buildings moved several hundred yards away to Beit El’s military base, the defense establishment had caravillas shuttled to the settlement.
The settlers have pledged a calm eviction, but at least four of the families said they would mount “peaceful resistance” vis-à-vis IDFsoldiers and Civil Administration officers who are slated to carry out the eviction.
According to the settlers, Rabbi Melamed – who was instrumental in brokering the settlers’ consent to the move – said that peaceful resistance did not contradict the agreement struck with the government.
Security officials said that they were aware of plans to passively resist the eviction, and have made sure to clear all rocks and tires placed in the area as part of the early “resistance plan” and in an effort to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
Tents erected in the eviction path have also been removed.
Caravillas (temporary housing) for evacuated Ulpana residents
Beit El Rabbi Zalman Melamed joined Ulpana neighborhood expulsion victims Tuesday for their last morning prayers before the expulsion of the families.
A feeling of mourning and anger hung over the neighborhood, where the residents said there would be no violence. After the 6:45 prayers concluded, the Defense Ministry deployed workers to load up their possessions and move them to temporary “caravan homes,” trailer housing without wheels.
No soldiers were present Tuesday morning, and parents moved their children elsewhere so they would not have to witness the removal of possessions and the 15 families, which is to be completed by nightfall.
Ironically, the temporary homes are located on a base adjacent to Beit El which is the home of Border Police, who have carried out hundreds of middle-of-the-night demolitions, often without presenting court approval, of dozens of outposts in Judea and Samaria.
My heart breaks for the residents. I hope their temporary housing is indeed temporary, and that Netanyahu and his government really come through on their promise to build 300 new houses in Bet El. We all need to remember the treatment meted out to theevacuated Gush Katif residents, many of whom are still homeless and unemployed 6 years after the expulsion, and learn from their sad experience.