Young right-wing activists, known locally as “hilltop youth,” started to fortify the Beit El Ulpana neighborhood in recent days as they prepare to prevent the demolition of five houses.
The buildings in Givat Ulpana are slated for destruction on July 1 by order of the High Court of Justice, after it was determined they were built on private Palestinian land.
A drastic change of scenery took place in the neighborhood over the past couple of days. From a quiet place where families lived in homes — and more recently, supporters in tents — it started to look like a military operation, with apartments being turned into bunkers and obstacles being prepared along the routes leading to the houses.
According to a report by Maariv, dozens of teenagers and young adults were preparing to fight security forces who would come to carry out the court-ordered demolition of five of the neighborhood’s houses. Part of the fortification was a “checkpoint” at the entrance to the neighborhood.
Tires, with rags tied on for rapid ignition, were placed next to the checkpoint, and along other roads leading to the houses designated for demolition.
“We’re going to defend ourselves,” one of the activists said, as he explained their plan. They would turn apartments into concrete strongholds and take up residence inside, making the life of those who come to evacuate them very hard.
The young activists were organized. A few of them had set up headquarters in a tent, ironically bought from the IDF’s surplus supplies, from where they were making phone calls and coordinating the arrival of buses carrying volunteers and students from some of the politically active religious seminaries and yeshivas.
Some of the residents of the neighborhood weren’t pleased with what was happening in the street below their houses. They had planned on peacefully protesting the decision, without fighting members of the police or army. “The youth control the area, not us,” one resident told Maariv. He warned that things were on a collision path.
“There will be a war over here,” one of the teenagers said, “People are willing to fight like never before.”
Graffiti comparing the situation to that at the 2006 demolitions in Amona were sprayed on one of the neighborhoods walls, a reminder of clashes in which dozens of policemen and right-wing activists were injured.