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Netanyahu reaches deal with Amona outpost settlers

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [file photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [file photo

The settlers of Amona outpost yesterday accepted a deal to move them to a nearby hilltop ahead of a court deadline for the evacuation of their homes.

According to Haaretz, under the terms of the deal offered to them by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett, settlers will be allowed to set up trailers on an adjacent plot on a nearby hilltop, on land considered by the Israeli authorities to be “absentee property”, a legal mechanism used to expropriate Palestinian land.

As reported by the New York Times: “Under the new arrangement, more than 20 of the outpost’s mobile homes are to be relocated” to the nearby land.

In yesterday’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu declared: “We made great efforts to reach a solution for Amona. We did it out of our good will and out of love for settlement.”

The Amona outpost, established on privately-owned Palestinian land, must be evacuated by 25 December, according to a ruling by the Supreme Court.

In addition, the Israeli government allocated 130 million shekels ($34 million) to cover the costs of evacuating Amona, most of which – 70 million shekels ($18.1 million) – will go to building a brand-new settlement near Shvut Rachel colony.

The new settlement near Shvut Rachel was “strongly condemned” by the Obama administration in October.

Some 40 million shekels ($10.3 million) is to be used for compensation to the settlers of Amona outpost, and for “other assistance to both the families evicted from Amona and nine families due to be evicted from illegally built houses in Ofra.”

The money was secured by “an across-the-board cut in the budgets of all government ministries for 2017-18, in part to cover these costs.”

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