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Settlers resist court order to evacuate illegal outpost

Israeli settlers residing in the soon-to-be demolished illegal Amona outpost in the occupied West Bank held an emergency meeting yesterday evening following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to continue with evacuation plans in the community, and pledged to resist any demolitions carried out in the area.

The Amona outpost, where at least 40 Israeli families reside, was slated for demolition in 2008 after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favour of Palestinians whose private land the settlement outpost was built on.

The spokesperson for the Amona outpost, Avihai Boaron, was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying during the meeting that the settlers would "stand here like a bulwark" in response to the court's decision, and called for those who supported the outpost's resistance to construct a tent city at the outpost as a protest demonstration.

Boaron also pleaded for the intervention of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that "It's up to you [Netanyahu] to save us or sacrifice us," and urged him to pass legislation that could retroactively legalise the outpost.

"Pass the bill and remove the sword of evacuation and transfer from over our heads," Boaron was quoted as saying, referring to the so-called formalsation bill being introduced in the Knesset that could retroactively legalise some 232 Israeli outposts scattered across the West Bank – most built on private Palestinian land – which are considered illegal by the Israeli government.

The emergency meeting in Amona was held in response to yesterday's Israeli Supreme Court decision to dismiss a petition presented by the Israeli government to postpone the evacuation of the illegal outpost.

The Israeli State Attorney's office had requested the postponement on the basis that it could not arrange alternative housing for the residents of Amona before the target evacuation date of 25 December this year, with Palestinian landowners filing an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court last week rejecting the demands to postpone.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat warned last week that any dismantlement of the illegal Israeli outpost Amona in the occupied West Bank would be followed by the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking Israeli-issued building permits in occupied East Jerusalem.

According to AFP, the mayor was quoted as saying that the demolition of Amona "could have implications for similar cases in Jerusalem, where Arabs have illegally built on private or municipal land."

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