Some residents in the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Amona began preparing for imminent evacuation late Wednesday night after voting to reject a deal offered by the state that would prevent a violent clash with Israeli forces.
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The state offered the residents of the illegal outpost, which is facing a December 25 deadline from the High Court to vacate the site, to relocate the site to nearby land if they agree to sign a commitment that they allow a peaceful evacuation. The deal that had been offered to the residents was presented by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, laying the groundwork for the construction of a number of buildings to house residents in the nearby area deemed abandoned by its Palestinian owners.
The proposal, which was supported by Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, would give Amona's residents temporary permits, renewable every two years, to live at the new site.
However, fearing that the deal would face legal hurdles after some claims have been made by Palestinians to most of the land staked out for Amona, the residents rejected the state’s proposal.
"Amona residents won't get another offer," a senior government official told Haaretz. "This is the most that can be given to them. They decided by a large majority to reject the deal. They will be evacuated very soon."
The Amona residents demand an agreement in which every home that is removed from the hill at Amona will be replaced at the alternative site immediately. The state however, will first have to examine the Palestinian claims for the land.
According to current law, when someone asserts a claim to have inherited a portion of a plot, no construction on the site is allowed until the court adjudicates the claim, allowing for potential disputes over the new area.
Sensing that action was close, dozens who support the residents in Amona arrived at the outpost and began preparing for the arrival of Israeli forces. The supporters received instructions on how to film the evacuation which residents feel could come almost immediately.