Palestinian land owners petition High Court to return to Amona plot

A group of Palestinian landowners whose plots are located where the illegal Amona once stood are petitioning the High Court of Justice for permission to return to the central West Bank hilltop.

Amona was demolished in February 2017 after the High Court ruled it had been established on private Palestinian land. However, following the razing, the IDF issued a closed military zone order on the hilltop saying its continued habitation would disrupt public order.

New prefabricated homes are seen under construction in the West Bank between the Israeli outpost of Amona and the settlement of Ofra (background), north of Ramallah, on January 31, 2017. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

While the order has been enforced over the past two years against the Palestinian landowners, the IDF has allowed Israelis to return to the hilltop — once last year for settlers to hold a ceremony marking a year since the demolition of Amona and again last month when settler leaders illegally installed a pair of mobile homes at the site in response to a spate of Palestinian violence. The caravans were eventually removed by security forces in a violent evacuation three weeks later.

In addition to demanding that they be allowed to return to their lands, the petition, submitted together with the Yesh Din rights group, demands that the IDF enforce its order fully against Israelis.

— Jacob Magid

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