Hundreds infiltrate security blocks outside Amona
Despite security forces’ blocking of entrance to Amona outpost ahead of its court-ordered evacuation, activists pierce the barricade as they seek to hinder its execution; hours earlier, army issues order to evacuate persons and property from the outpost in line with the February 8 deadline; rabbi asks PM not to demolish the synagogue.
Hundreds of teenagers managed to infiltrate the Amona outpost Tuesday night in a last-ditch effort to hinder the evacuation which is supposed to take place under court order no later than next Wednesday, February 8.
Security forces began blocking off the road leading to the outpost with bulldozers earlier in the afternoon. In addition, policemen, later reinforced by IDF soldiers, gathered at the entrance and permitted only the entry of the outpost’s resident who assembled outside its perimeters as the HCJ convened to discuss the compromise Amona agreement after previously ordering its evacuation.
Since the afternoon, teenage activists went from house to house in the outpost, making inquiries as to how many people the families would be willing to host, if any at all.
Despite the vast majority of the residents announcing they would vacate the hilltop without resistance, one of the houses will serve as a barricade center for young people who refuse to evacuate and plan on confronting the military forces.
One of the people who managed to penetrate the barricade told Ynet: "I came to Ofra and saw everything was blocked. I called a few friends who were already in Amona and they explained to us how to get past the blockade. I reached one of the Wadis and just started running. One of the police officers started chasing me and then stopped."
Another young man said: "The police officers captured some teens and arrested them. But we managed to enter the outpost."
Earlier on Tuesday, the IDF posted notice at the entrance to Amona, stating that within 48 hours, all persons must exit the area and leave no property behind.
The security apparatus also requested to propel an observation balloon to the sky above Amona from Tuesday night until February 2.
Meanwhile, the Regulation Bill, which seeks to retroactively legalize outposts, passed its second and third reading in a special Knesset committee ahead of a Knesset plenum vote scheduled to take place next Monday.
A civilian taxi arrived at the site to distribute the orders but was forced from the outpost by youth activists. Activists also took most of the orders in order to prevent them being delivered directly to the families.
The Amona settlers are also preparing for the evacuation, but they have asked for permission to leave the outpost's synagogue and ritual bath in their current locations. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yair Frank, Amona's rabbi, asked for this exemption.
Frank claimed that destroying a synagogue was a Torah-level prohibition, which is why the state did not demolish synagogues when withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. He asked Netanyahu to have Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit authorize sealing off the two structures as has been done in similar instances in the past.
The outpost, built in the 1990s, stretches out over a rugged, grassy hilltop and looks out across the valley onto Palestinian villages. In 2006, Israeli police demolished nine homes at Amona, setting off clashes pitting settlers and their supporters against police and soldiers. Several dozen trailers have remained and the outpost has become a symbol for the settlement movement.
Its fate has threatened to rupture Netanyahu's narrow coalition, which is dominated by ultranationalists who support settlements.
The government asked the court on Monday to approve the compromise agreement being discussed by the HCJ and reject a petition filed by human rights organization Yesh Din asking that the agreement be rejected as it ignores the rights of Palestinian land owners.
The Associated Press and Andrew Friedman/TPS contributed to this report.