In stark contrast to earlier evictions, dozens of Jewish settlers ordered to leave their homes in the West Bank yesterday did so peacefully. Israel is in the process of evacuating the Ulpana outpost on the orders of its Supreme Court, which determined that five apartment blocks had been illegally built on private Palestinian land, reports the Washington Post. The Ulpana settlers, who were moved to prefabricated homes on a nearby military outpost, said a prominent rabbi had advised them to avoid confrontation with the military.
"This is not a happy day for Israel," one departing resident said. "To leave a house is very simple, but to leave a home is very difficult." Several other evictions based on similar court orders are expected to take place over the next few weeks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the court order by vowing to build 850 new apartments in the West Bank to replace the 30 emptied units. He has also promised to uproot the five apartment blocks from their foundations and move them to another location, although engineers say doing so would be expensive and impractical, AP notes. (Read more West Bank settlements stories.)