High Court Demands Amona Settlers to Commit to Peaceful Evacuation

Justices won't say whether commitment would lead to postponement of evacuation, scheduled for this weekend.

Children in Amona, November 2016.
Gil Cohen-Magen

The High Court of Justice ordered Wednesday the Amona settlers to commit to a peaceful evacuation of the illegal outpost, after only several of the settlers responded to a state petition to postpone their eviction. 

In their statement, the justices refused to say whether such a commitment would lead to the court postponing the evacuation, scheduled for this weekend.  

The state submitted the petition Tuesday night, telling the court the evacuation agreement with Amona’s settlers could not be implemented.

The outpost, which was built on privately-owned Palestinian land, must be evacuated by December 25, by order of the High Court of Justice.

The state told the court that construction could not begin on the site where it had promised the settlers it would set up 24 prefabs immediately, because of a claim of ownership of part of that area by a Palestinian.

Haaretz reported Tuesday that Civil Service professionals believed construction in that area, known as parcel 38, could not be started for that same reason.

In their response to the state’s request for a 45-day postponement of Amona’s evacuation, the outpost’s residents tacitly acknowledged that the voluntary evacuation deal to which they had agreed can’t be implemented.

“Granting the requested extension would ease the suffering of Amona residents, suffering which is naturally is entailed in the evacuation and destruction of their homes,” their statement to the court said. “On the other hand, the requested time period is fixed and not very long; thus the requested extension does no real damage or injury to any other person.”

But the response made no mention at all of the state’s admission that a key element of the deal, construction of new housing for some Amona residents on nearby Lot 38, would not be fulfilled.

The Palestinian owners of the land on which Amona sits, whose petition to the High Court resulted in the order that the outpost be demolished, also submitted a response to the state’s request, via the Yesh Din organization, which is representing them. 

This request, Yesh Din wrote, “is based on a corrupt deal between the Israeli government and the lawbreakers ... The state offers two reasons for its request. The first is that it needs time to find temporary housing solutions for Amona residents, and the second is that the delay is needed to prevent violence. Both reasons are factually incorrect and create no legal justification” for an extension.