Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filed a motion for contempt against Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein this week for failing to comply with a judicial order to evacuate the illegal outpost of Amona in the West Bank.
What Yesh Din believed was an order to evacuate the entire outpost, which was built on privately owned Palestinian land in 1996, will affect only the outpost's access road and one of its approximately 60 buildings, according to General Attorney Yehuda Weinstein’s announcement last Thursday.
"They're interpreting it as the need to evacuate only specific plots that we have specific petitioners for," said Yesh Din spokesperson Reut Mor, who said the entire outpost should be evacuated because it is all built on privately owned Palestinian land.
"If a private person would have a court decision and understand it the way they want, the state would put this person in prison," said Mor of the State's interpretation.
Yesh Din said it petitioned the High Court of Justice against AG Weinstein on Monday.
Located on a hilltop near the settlement of Ofra, Amona is one of the oldest outposts in the West Bank and is home to approximately 40 Orthodox Jewish families. Palestinian landowners from Silwad and other nearby towns have been petitioning against the outpost in the courts for the past seven years.
In 2006, the HCJ ruled the outpost illegal and demolished nine of the outpost's buildings, which led to violent clashes between riot police and thousands of protestors. In 2008, Palestinian owners, assisted by Yesh Din, petitioned for ownership of the outpost. The HCJ ruled in favor of the landowners and issued evacuation orders which have since been repeatedly delayed over residents' claims of land purchase.
But Yesh Din says the claims of purchase are false at best and, if accurate, represent only percentages of four of Amona's approximately 20 to 25 plots.
"It's not true," said Miriam Hammad, a 77-year-old landowner from Silwad and one of 10 petitioners in the court case, of the land purchases. "Our land is very precious to us."
Secretary General of Ofra, Sami Krasenti, said he had proof of the purchases but could not show them to members of the press because of the Palestinian Authority's law forbidding Palestinians from selling land to Jews under penalty of death.
In its application for contempt of court, Yesh Din noted that the attorney general is “the main culprit,” according to a press release sent to Ynetnews on Monday.
“The role of the Attorney General is particularly painful and aggravating, as someone who is supposed to serve as the last guardian of the rule of law but has instead chosen to play games with the HCJ decision," it read.
“In so doing, he is serving the lawbreakers who 17 years ago seized the private land of residents of Silwad, Ein Yabrud and Taybeh.”
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