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Israel court postpones demolition of West Bank settlement

The Supreme Court of Israel [official website, in Hebrew] on Sunday postponed the demolition of illegal settlements in the West Bank [JURIST news archive]. The Supreme Court had ordered the 30 apartments in Ulpana neighborhood to be destroyed by July 1, extending [LAT report] it from May 1. However, with Sunday's ruling, another date for the demolition was set to November 15. The Israeli government began its evacuation [WP report] of Jewish families in the outpost on Tuesday and is also planning to relocate the homes located on the Palestinian grounds to a nearby settlements.

West Bank settlements have caused tension between Israel and Palestinian authorities as well as criticism by international groups despite the Israeli parliament's vote [JURIST report] against legalizing the unauthorized settlement earlier this month. Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories Richard Falk demanded [JURIST report] Israel cease its demolition [press release] of Palestinian buildings in the West Bank settlements after finding that the demolition of Palestinian structures such as houses, animal shelters, water cisterns and roads have risen by 87 percent from last year. Israel responded to international investigations into these settlements by announcing [JURIST report] in March that it will sever ties to the UN Human Rights Council. The announcement came after the UN body initiated its investigation to determine the effect that Israeli settlements have had on the civil, political, economic and cultural rights of the Palestinian people. Even in March 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] called [JURIST report] in a press conference Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank "illegal."

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