Waiting for Trump? Netanyahu Again Asks Court to Delay Evacuation of Illegal Outpost

The prime minister says the state will ask the High Court for a 30-day delay in order prepare alternative housing on nearby land abandoned by Palestinians.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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The West Bank settler outpost of Amona, November 29, 2016.
The West Bank settler outpost of Amona, November 29, 2016.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the state will ask the High Court of Justice to delay the evacuation of the illegal Amona outpost by 30 days.

If the court approves Netanyahu's request, the evacuation of Amona will take place after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January 20.

The High Court has ordered the outpost evacuated by December 25, ruling that it was built on privately owned Palestinian land.

Netanyahu said in a meeting with Likud ministers that the delay is meant to allow the state to prepare alternative housing for the residents of the outpost on nearby land, which was abandoned by Palestinians.

Netanyahu added that a bill that legalizes settler outposts cannot be passed if it goes against the ruling of the High Court of Justice.

Last month, the court rejected a state petition to postpone Amona's evacuation by six months. "We see that any time-frame specified, however long, is not enough," Justices Miriam Naor, Esther Hayut and Hanan Melcer said in their ruling.

Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank said Friday that it intends to relocate the residents of Amona to land deemed abandoned by its Palestinian owners for a period of eight months until a permanent solution is found.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has recently asserted that the absentee property north of the outpost could be used to temporarily accommodate Amona's 40 families.

According to an initial estimate by the governing coalition, the temporary relocation will cost 50 million shekels ($13 million).

Amona's residents protested the move in a letter to Netanyahu. "It's simply idiotic that the state would spend 50 million shekels on this, for eight months, after which Amona's residents will be expelled yet again," the letter said. "The State of Israel will have left behind people who have been expelled twice, wasted 50 million shekels and scarred a mountain."

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