Photo: AP
Tensions high in Amona
Photo: AP
Photo: AFP
Preparing for confrontation
Photo: AFP
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Clashes in Amona overnight
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Court rejects settlers' petition

Amona evacuation to proceed as planned: Judges reject Yesha Council's petition against demolition of structures at illegal West Bank outpost of Amona; earlier, dozens hurt as settlers and troops clash, police goes on highest alert across country

AMONA - (VIDEO) The High Court of Justice rejected Wednesday morning a petition filed by settlers against the demolition of permanent structures in the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona.


Earlier, the High Court issued an injunction against the demolitions until the settlers' petition is heard, but a special three-judge panel now rejected the petition by a 2-1 margin, clearing the way for an immediate resumption of the evacuation operation.


Immediately following the court decision, thousands of youths in Amona were instructed to barricade themselves inside houses and on the roofs. Thousands of settlers formed human chains around the structures, as sirens continued blaring. Meanwhile, forces started heading into Amona.


Tensions high in Amona (Footage: Yaron Brenner)


Overnight, police began the operation to clear the site, but the evacuation was halted after the injunction was issued. The High Court convened the special panel to deliberate the injunction Wednesday morning.


During the discussion, Justice Ayala Procaccia slammed the petition's timing and noted residents of Amona were aware of the expected demolition of the structures there since July.


Settlers in Amona (Photo: AP)


"Why was there a need to wait for the last day, with forces already on the ground, and only then come up with proposals that may be nice, but the timing is very, very difficult," she said. "This entire move should have been undertaken several months ago, before there were a concrete date for the evacuation."


State representative Osnat Mandel also slammed the settlers, saying they "indeed delivered on their promise – 15 security forces were hurt. The illegal battle is underway."


Meanwhile, settler representative Hanan Porat said: "We're saying no to violence, no to hurling stones at any price. But we also need to take a look at reality: When the wounds of Gush Katif are still bleeding, we cannot take responsibility for every person, child, and teenager. We have immense responsibility to find a way to avoid a rift."


Police on highest alert


Meanwhile, police across the country went on the highest alert in light of the operation to evacuate Amona. Earlier, police Chief Moshe Karadi decided to send another 1,200 police officers to Amona to boost the 6,000 forces already there.


Six police officers and four soldiers were hurt in clashes with settlers in Amona Wednesday morning. The settlers hurled stones at security forces, and three police officers were taken to hospital for treatment.


The settlers said 21 right-wing activists were hurt in the clashes, including one who broke his nose during confrontations with police and was taken to hospital for treatment.


Meanwhile, four right-wing activists, including one teenager, were detained on suspicion of taking part in the violence.


Youths at Amona were gathered around 4:30 a.m. and the public address system announced the High Court issued an injunction. Those present responded with yells of joy, singing, and dancing.


Yesha Council Chairman Bentzi Lieberman told Ynet the injunction was issued at the request of settler officials.


"We pledged in a letter we submitted to transfer the permanent structures promptly to State-approved land," he said.


However, not everyone in Amona was pleased with the court injunction. Some felt that settlers again caved in because of the Yesha Council.


Clashes in Amona (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


"We should have had a struggle here, rather than turning to the High Court," some settlers said.


Mayhem starts at 3 a.m.


Sirens were heard in Amona around 3 a.m. and the public address system called on the thousands of youths in the area to wake up and prepare, as security forces were making their way to the area. The teenagers were called upon to take positions inside and on the roofs of structures at the site.


Shortly thereafter, clashes between the sides broke out, after security forces broke through the obstacles placed in their way by the settlers at the entrance to Amona. The settlers, meanwhile, responded by hurling stones and bottles at the forces.


Earlier, about 50 settlers managed to block Highway 60 from Ofra to Jerusalem using vehicles and rocks. The rioters were cleared and detained following a clash with troops.


Anat Barshkovsky also contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 02.01.06, 07:12
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