Palestinians, Not Israelis, Being Kept Off Land of Evacuated West Bank Outpost

Israel evicted the settlers from Amona last month because the unauthorized outpost had been put up on private Palestinian land.

Palestinians from the village of Silwad, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, look at the Jewish Amona wildcat outpost on February 9, 2017, after it was dismantled.

The army’s order barring access to the land from which the illegal outpost Amona was evacuated last month is apparently being enforced only against Palestinians, not settlers or other Israelis.

A Haaretz reporter visiting the site saw Israelis wandering around freely without the security forces monitoring them, while local Palestinians say they are not allowed onto the site.

The Israel Defense Forces, for its part, says the order is being enforced against both Israelis and Palestinians.

The road between the outpost and the adjacent settlement Ofra remains open, with Israeli cars traveling freely between the two sites, and the reporter had no trouble driving in from Ofra.

Even the Palestinians living in adjacent villages or who own the land on which Amona had been built including ones who sued to have the outpost moved have been barred.

Amona was evacuated last month at the order of the High Court of Justice because it was built on privately owned Palestinian land.

In the days after the evacuation, a roadblock was set up on the road to the outpost, and the Border Police prevented Israelis from climbing the hill to reach Amona, but now the roadblock is unmanned.

Still, Palestinians living nearby told Haaretz they are not allowed onto the outpost’s land. Cameras facing Palestinian villages film anyone climbing the hill to reach Amona.

When a vehicle approaches from a village, the army is alerted and turns the vehicle back. The Haaretz reporter trying to drive in from the nearby village Dir Jarir was blocked by soldiers and Ofra security guards, who said the area was closed off.

But an Ofra security guard confirmed that nothing prevented entry from the direction of Ofra through the route open only to Israelis.

The IDF spokesman said Amona’s land remained subject to the order and entrance is prohibited to Israelis and Palestinians alike unless they have special permission. The order is enforced by the security forces and any entrance without permission is handled accordingly, the IDF said.