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New West Bank settlement slated for soon-to-be evicted outpost residents: report

Five of the nine houses marked for destruction in 2006 in the Amona settlement in the West Bank, on January 31, 2006
AFP Photo/Menahem Kahana
The hilltop outpost of Amona is scheduled for evacuation by December 25, 2016

The Israeli Defense Ministry and settler organization Amana are planning to build a new settlement in the West Bank, in order to house residents of an illegal hilltop outpost that is due to be evacuated by the end of the year, Haaretz reports.

The new settlement, which will be close to Shilo, is intended to accommodate around 40 families from the Amona outpost, and is being planned as a way of cooling opposition to the outpost's evacuation and demolition.

It will consist of 139 housing units, of which Amana will be able to sell 90 on the open market, according to Haaretz. Last month, Amana head Zeev "Zambish" Hever was questioned under caution on suspicion of fraud in his West Bank land transactions.

Architectural plans for the new settlement have already been drawn up, and have been seen by Haaretz. It is to be established on state-owned land near to the Geulat Zion outpost, Haaretz reports, which was one of the focal points of settler violence against Palestinians. Amiram Ben Ulliel, the main suspect in the Dawabshe murders, used to live in Geulat Zion.

Ynet/Gil Yohanan

A settler who lives in the area and is cultivating vineyards on part of the land intended for the new settlement was last week asked by Mateh Binyamin Regional Council representatives to clear the territory, according to Haaretz.

Nonetheless, although work on the new settlement can now begin, it has not yet begun due to the opposition of residents.

The Amona outpost was established on private land near Ofra settlement in 1995. Violent clashes broke out at the outpost in 2006 when residents were evicted from nine permanent structures.

The outpost's residents have been locked in an eight-year legal battle against a petition submitted by several Palestinian land-owners with the assistance of Israeli NGO Yesh Din, which was filed in the Supreme Court, Haaretz reports.

The state was originally ordered to demolish the outpost by the end of 2012, but in the wake of protests this was changed to apply only to the land referred to in the petition.

The settlers claimed that they had legally purchased some of the plots, but a legal opinion ruled that some of the purchase documents submitted to the court were forged. At the end of 2014, then-Supreme Court President Asher Grunis ordered that the outpost be evacuated within the next two years — effectively giving them until December 2016.

According to Haaretz, the plans for the new settlement are intended by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon as a message to Amona's residents, proposing that if they evacuate quietly they will get a new locale, otherwise they will be evicted with no follow-up solution for them.



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