Residents of the illegal West Bank outpost Amona are preparing for its court-ordered evacuation next month by erecting tent sites for the thousands of volunteers who are expected to come to their aid in the fight for their home.
Two years ago, the High Court of Justice ruled that Amona was illegally constructed on privately-owned Palestinian land and ordered the outpost's demolition by December 25, 2016. Attempts by the government to delay the evacuation were rejected.
The settlers of Amona have already begun preparing the tents and supplies—such as food and blankets—for the use of their anticipated supporters. A command center of sorts is also in the works, which will include a kitchen and an infirmary. Generators, beds, and water tanks are to be brought in as well.
"This is an initial step ahead of establishing tent sites over a few hundred dunams, which will be able to house 20,000 people," said Etzion David, one of the settlers. "The goal is to house the people in the time of the evacuation, if—God forbid—it goes ahead. It's expected to be very cold, and we want to give those who come the conditions to deal with (the cold). We will also bring basic food, drinks, and blankets, and make sure there are basic conditions that allow people to stay here."
The settlers have also learned their lessons from a previous evacuation of several homes in Amona in 2006, when authorities blocked access to the outpost ahead of time. "We have plans of arrival paths, and will also have vehicles and jeeps to drive people," said David. "The military will close (the roads)—and we will make sure that people arrive despite it."
Last week, late at night, several hundred youths gathered in Giv'at Asaf, which is located just a few kilometers away from Amona for a practice run. After receiving a short briefing, they began their journey, navigating through secret paths that brought them to Amona. The practice run went smoothly.
On the day of the evacuation, the settlers plan to surround every structure in Amona with a "human chain" made of hundreds of people. They intend on documenting the events of the day with portable cameras and broadcast the footage live on the internet.