Amona settlers reject compromise, vow to resist evacuation
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Amona settlers reject compromise, vow to resist evacuation

Despite deal reached to move them to nearby plot and save other outposts, residents call on public to help them fight off bulldozers, accuse government of abandonment

Young Jewish men seen building a structure in the Jewish settlement of Amona in the West Bank, on November 28, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Young Jewish men seen building a structure in the Jewish settlement of Amona in the West Bank, on November 28, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Residents of the West Bank outpost of Amona indicated they would not accede to a government plan to move them to a nearby plot and derided the Jewish Home party for joining other coalition members in backing a bill that won’t keep bulldozers from razing their homes.

The Knesset pushed forward on a controversial bill Monday that will allow the government to recognize outposts built on private Palestinian land, after the Jewish Home dropped its demand that the legislation include a clause retroactively overriding a High Court ruling for Amona to be evacuated by December 25.

Under a proposed compromise, the 40 families living on private Palestinian land in the outpost would be moved to a nearby plot of land under absentee ownership.

The government is eager to avoid a repeat of a violent confrontation at Amona when several homes were razed there in 2006, but residents said in a letter Monday that they would not move off the Ramallah-area hilltop without a fight.

“We are continuing to prepare for a battle. Amona will not fall again,” the letter read, calling on others to “stand with us in popular protest.”

In recent days, settlers in the outpost have been photographed building new structures to house the thousands of supporters they hope will come to resist the planned evacuation.

Jewish residents of the unauthorized Israeli outpost of Amona, in the West Bank, seen walking on the streets of the outpost on November 17, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish residents of the unauthorized Israeli outpost of Amona, in the West Bank, seen walking on the streets of the outpost on November 17, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The idea to move the settlers to a nearby plot was first proposed by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. However, the Amona leadership called the move a “false solution … divorced from the reality on the ground,” and said they rejected it outright.

They also claimed the new plots would not have enough room to hold their houses or public institutions.

The residents accused Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett of abandoning them and held out hope that he would change course and amend the law to include their outpost.

Even without Amona, the measure is expected to be challenged in the High Court once it passes, and Mandelblit says it will be indefensible as it breaks local and international law.

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