High Court grants request to postpone Amona evacuation
Court sets new February 8 deadline for demolition of homes at the illegal outpost, stating 'this is a final and last extension, even if no alternative solution is found'; extension granted after Amona residents committed to unconditional peaceful evacuation.
The High Court of Justice accepted on Thursday a request to postpone the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona—scheduled for December 25—by 45 days.
The new date set to carry out the demolition order is February 8, 2017.
The court stressed that "this is a final and last extension, even if no alternative solution is found."
The residents of Amona welcomed the decision to postpone the evacuation, saying "Now, the responsibility is entirely on the state and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who committed to erect in the next 45 days homes on the mountain for the residents of Amona, and preserve the town. The ball is in their hands."
The legal NGO Yesh Din, which represents the Palestinian land owners, criticized the decision, noting "Even though the High Court has determined that the arguments presented to postpone the evacuation were insufficient, the judges agreed to the impertinent request and did not reject out of hand the corrupt deal made between the government and the lawbreakers in Amona."
"The states makes no effort to hide the fact there is no plan at present on how to move the settlers of Amona, therefore the entire purpose of the extension is to try to find how to bypass the law and avoid having to carry out the court ruling," the NGO continued.
"We will continue to act to ensure that the extension given to the state will not be used to finding news ways to avoid having to return the lands to their rightful owners—Palestinians from Silwad, Taibe and Ein Yabrud," Yesh Din concluded.
Yesh Din and the Palestinian land owners also attacked the compromise agreement itself. "The state is planning on committing a blatant violation of trust by stealing private lands that belong to Palestinians and giving them to those who have already proven they would apply any means necessary to invade others' lands, refuse to leave, and even threaten in making it difficult to carry our judicial orders," they wrote. "It's hard to think of a more brutal violation of trust. This is a completely immoral and illegal act."
Earlier on Thursday, following a request from the High Court, the residents of Amona issued a declaration agreeing "all as one to a peaceful evacuation without conflict or resistance," adding that their commitment “is without any condition."
Elisha Ben Kimon contributed to this story.