Israel Approves $17 Million Budget to Evacuate 15 Families From Illegal West Bank Outpost

In addition to $7 million in direct compensation to Netiv Ha'avot residents, the cabinet allocated $600,000 for hotel rooms for the residents while they await temporary housing

Housing in the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha'avot, 2015.
Olivier Fitoussi

The cabinet on Sunday approved an allocation of 60 million shekels ($17 million) for the evacuation of 15 families from the West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha'avot, where homes were built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land. The amount includes direct compensation to the residents, as well as funds to establish infrastructure for temporary housing and compensation to the regional council.

The Supreme Court ruled that the setters' current homes must be vacated by early March, but the state has asked that this deadline be postponed until June to provide temporary housing for the settlers.

The cabinet resolution provides that Finance Ministry will allocate 29 million shekels to assist the Gush Etzion regional council, which will build the temporary homes for the evicted families at a location adjacent to the outpost's current location. As a practical matter, the site is a neighborhood of the settlement of Elazar.

The resolution also provides funding of 2.25 million shekels to rent hotel rooms for the evicted families for three months. If necessary, an additional 750,000 shekels will be allocated on a monthly basis for hotel accommodations over a longer period.

Another 24 million shekels in taxpayer money will be paid to the residents as direct compensation for their demolished homes, despite the fact that the houses were built illegally. An additional 4 million shekels will be allocated to help the evicted settlers organize their lives in their new location.

The High Court of Justice ruled that homes built entirely on privately owned Palestinian land should be demolished while structures built on both private and publicly owned land could remain standing on the publicly owned portion.

In its petition Tuesday, the state described its plan to “carry out the court’s ruling peacefully” – that is, without leading to violent resistance by the outpost's residents. The settlers promised to leave peacefully if the court approves the postponement.

A similar plan had been reached for the evacuation of Amona, another unauthorized West Bank outpost, which was demolished in February of last year. Despite the residents’ commitments, the two-day evacuation was marked by violence, especially after hundreds, possibly thousands, of people showed up on the hilltop to protest, many of whom barricaded themselves in the local synagogue. Dozens of police officers were injured.