Coalition Reportedly Weighing Plan to Stave Off Evacuation of West Bank Settlement Outpost

Likud MK suggests offering state land to Palestinian owners in exchange for the Amona outpost.

Amona, an unauthorized outpost in the West Bank, east of the Palestinian town of Ramallah, May 18, 2016.
Oded Balilty, AP

The coalition is considering a new proposal to prevent the evacuation of the Amona settlement outpost this December: allowing the settlers to remain on the Palestinian-owned land while offering to compensate the owners with nearby lands controlled by the state.

Coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud), who came up with the idea, said the attorney general is currently studying it.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had urged coalition members to propose solutions that would enable him to avoid a court order to evacuate Amona, since the evacuation would probably spark a coalition crisis and a political clash with the settlers. Bitan therefore proposed a land swap of the kind sometimes used inside Israel when private land is expropriated for public use. 

Altogether 2,026 buildings in the settlements are built on privately owned Palestinian land, according to data submitted to the Knesset in May by Regavim, a right-wing NGO.