Report: Israel asks court to delay settlement eviction

12:00 Apr 27 2012 Ulpana district of Beit El

ETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli government on Friday asked the Supreme Court to delay the eviction of a Jewish neighborhood in the West Bank, the Israeli daily Ynet reported,

Israel had promised the court it would evict the Ulpan neighborhood in Beit El settlement, built on land belonging to Palestinians, by May 1.

But the Israeli government on Friday appealed to the court to backtrack on the pledge and requested a 3-month delay to the eviction in a petition to the Supreme Court, Ynet reported.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Cabinet wish to reconsider the way the policy -- that states that every structure erected on private Palestinian land will be razed -- is implemented," the petition said.

The eviction order had caused a dispute in Netanyahu's coalition. One right-wing cabinet member cautioned the coalition could fall if the homes were destroyed.

Members of Netanyahu's Likud party had criticized centrist Defense Minister Ehud Barak for his commitment to the court's ruling.

For years, Israel has promised its main ally, the United States, to remove dozens of outposts, but has done little to fulfill the pledge in the face of domestic political friction.

On Tuesday, the Israeli government granted legal status to three settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group, said the change in status marked the first time since 1990 that the Israeli government had established a new settlement.

"The Netanyahu government is trying to deceive the public and hide its true policy." it said in a statement. "This announcement is against the Israeli interest of achieving peace and a two-state solution."
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