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Top Israeli court approves delay in Amona outpost evacuation

Israel's Supreme Court, meeting as the High Court of Justice, yesterday agreed to the state's request to extend the deadline for the evacuation of unauthorised settlement outpost Amona.

The 45-day extension is intended to facilitate, in the words of the court, a "peaceful evacuation", following "efforts that have recently been made to come to an agreed upon solution."

The previous deadline had been 25 December, but Amona's residents now have until 8 February to leave the outpost, which was established on privately-owned Palestinian land.

The court clarified that it was not passing judgement on the legality of a move to other land in the area; the Israeli government seeks to move some of the settlers to land in the same area, a move that remains blocked for the time being due to Palestinian legal challenges.

Israeli NGO Yesh Din commented: "The state is not concealing the fact that there is currently no plan for transferring the Amona settlers and therefore the only aim of a delay is to try to find how the law can be circumvented."

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