Israeli Army Orders Amona Settlers Out of Illegal Outpost Within 48 Hours

Outpost will be placed under closure within 48 hours, leaflet posted in Amona says; High Court set to rule on relocation plan today.

Children playing by a prefab home meant for the relocation of Amona's settlers.
Gil Cohen-Magen

The Israeli army has ordered the settlers of Amona to leave the illegal outpost within 48 hours, even as the High Court was set to rule on a relocation plan prepared by the state. 

According to a leaflet posted Tuesday morning at the outpost, after 48 hours the army will bar entry to Amona and no one will be allowed to stay in the premises.

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The order requires the settlers to remove their property from the outpost by midnight Wednesday, 48 hours after the order came into effect midnight Monday. However, the settlers claim that they only received the order Tuesday morning.

The order also gives the settlers the option to petition the army within 48 hours.

Amona’s residents were ordered to leave the outpost after the High Court of Justice ruled that land on which it was built is privately owned by Palestinians. A plan to move them to a site adjacent to the current one has been suspended after a number of Palestinians asserted ownership claims or other personal links to that land as well. The court is expected to make a final ruling on Tuesday on the feasibility of using the nearby site.

Should the High Court okay the outline, Amona's evacuation is expected to be carried out within days. The last date set by the court for the evacuation is February 8.

In its response to the Palestinian land owners' petition, the state cited the “security value” of reaching a solution that will allow Amona’s consensual evacuation. It said it believed the necessary preparations had been made, in light of the fact that the solution is “temporary and short-term and expresses a very significant solution to a public need in the form of maintaining public order and security.”

The IDF has recently ordered several battalions to prepare for Amona's evacuation. Army forces will be in charge of handling the Palestinian population should clashes develop during the evacuation, and will also assist in keeping roads to the outpost clear.

In their preparations, soldiers went through a complete combat plan, which included simulated confrontations with the settlers, played by IDF theater actors. However, the army has stated that it would be police, and not soldiers, who will be in charge of the evacuations itself.