High Court rejects Government request to postpone Amona evacuation

Israel’s High Court rejected a Government proposal to postpone the evacuation of the Amona outpost in the West Bank by seven months.

The High Court ordered the demolition of 40 homes in Amona two years ago.This followed ten years of legal dispute with the human rights organisation Yesh Din on behalf of the Palestinians who own parts of the land.

Yesterday the Court ruled that  a postponement would render its future decisions as mere recommendations and restated that the homes must be dismantled by 25 December 2016. The government argued that it required extra time to negotiate a peaceful relocation with the current Amona residents. The court rejected this argument as tantamount to  giving in to the threat of violence.

This decision followed political drama over the issue yesterday, when the Knesset Ministerial Committee approved a bill for the legalisation of Amona and parts of settlements built on private Palestinian land with the help of the state by providing financial compensation to the land owners. The bill, which still needs four more readings in the Knesset to pass into law, was opposed by both the Prime Minster and the Attorney General, who said that he could not defend the appropriation of private land under Israeli or international law.

Writing in Maariv, Ben Caspit argues that Netanyahu is now in a difficult position between the international community and his right wing constituency. He said: “If Netanyahu appeals and stops the bill, he will be marked in eternal disgrace as having done serious, unforgivable harm to the settlements. He can forget about siphoning off Bennett’s seats next time. If Netanyahu does not appeal, the bill will be put to a preliminary reading tomorrow. How will Netanyahu vote? If he objects or abstains, the result will be the same. The settlers will realise that he abandoned them at the last moment. If he votes yes, he can expect an icy response from the international community.”

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