Army to demolish Amona illegal outpost by January 2006

Israeli Defense Mofaz, decided to demolish the Amona illegal settlement outpost, which was constructed by an extremist settlers group in the West Bank, by the end of January 2006.

Mofaz’a decision was made in coordination with the commander of the Israeli army in the West Bank, and was announced by the Israeli State Attorney’s Office to the Israeli Supreme Court.

The decision came after the Israeli Peace Now movement submitted a petition to the Supreme Court by attorney Michael Sfard. The Israeli army is preparing for violent clashes with the extremist settler group during the evacuation.

Yet, the court’s decision includes a condition that the demolition “will only take place if the security situation allows it”, the Israeli online daily Haaretz reported.

In July 2005, Supreme Court Justice Ayala Procaccia issued an interim order instructing the army to evacuate the settlers living in nine houses at the illegal outpost, while the Israeli “Civil Administration Office” which belongs to the Israeli army, and the Police were instructed to prevent the construction in Amona outpost from being populated.

In August 2005 the Israeli State Attorney’s office announced that the homes in the illegal outpost would only be destroyed after Israel completes the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank.

Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Matteh Binyamin Regional Council, promised that the settlers would not enter the buildings, but inspectors of the Civil Administration Office found out that the houses had been populated.

Amona illegal outpost includes 53 mobile homes, housing 25 families. Attorney Dalia Sasson who prepared a report about illegal outposts, said that Amona was constructed on private Palestinian property, and that the Israeli the Housing Ministry financed the outpost’s infrastructure construction to the tune of NIS 2.1 million without authorization from the government or the Defense Ministry.

Peace now report on Amona illegal settlement outpost

Saed Bannoura – IMEMC & Agencies – Thursday, 01 September 2005, 18:31

In the beginning of July 2005, the Israeli Peace Now movement submitted a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice where the respondents were the Minister of Defense, the Commander of the Israeli Army in the West Bank, the Head of the Civil Administration and the Commander of the SHAI Police District.

The appeal accusing them of not implementing the cease and desist orders for work being carried out on the site, as well as not carrying out the demolition injunctions issued against the buildings back in October 2004.

The illegal outpost of Amona was established during the second half of the 1990’s on a hill located about one kilometer east of the Ofra settlement.

Approximately 30 families reside there today, making it one of the largest outposts in the West Bank. Up until 15 months ago (April 2004), all of the buildings in the outpost were mobile, with the exception of a number of relatively flimsy structures that had been put up.

In April 2004, the inhabited outpost of Ginot Arye, located south of Ofra, was evacuated. Despite all the threats that had been bandied about, the evacuation was carried out by the residents themselves.

However, this move was not a sign of the beginning of a new trend in the government’s attitude towards the outposts, but rather was a continuation of the old trend of masking the government’s true intentions.

Ginot Arye had been, from its very onset, established on property that even the State of Israel acknowledged had been privately owned Palestinian land. Its evacuation was intended to alleviate insistent legal pressures, without trying to deal with the length and breadth of the phenomenon of outposts as a whole.

So, while Ginot Arye was being evacuated, its caravans were transferred to two points east of Ofra. Consequently, two new outposts were created, one of which (Ofra North East) was populated almost immediately.

That same week, construction began on nine permanent buildings in Amona. It seems that these events (evacuating the outpost, transferring the caravans to two eastward locations, and constructing permanent buildings in Amona) were part of an unwritten agreement between the settlers and the Ministry of Defense.

In the beginning of 2005, Peace Now received (after many delays) an official reply from the Civil Administration stating that the construction underway in Amona was illegal.

Since then, Peace Now has been carrying out extensive correspondence with the Civil Administration in an effort to bring about necessary actions to apply the law against the construction which is still ongoing there.

The rate of construction peaked during the first months of 2005. In fact, the frames for the nine permanent buildings were completed in March 2005. Since then, work on the site has been continuing, especially during unconventional hours: weekends, holidays, late afternoons and evenings.

In the beginning of July 2005, Peace Now submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice where the respondents were the Minister of Defense, the Commander of the Israeli Army forces on the West Bank, the Head of the Civil Administration and the Commander of the SHAI Police District, accusing them of not implementing the cease and desist orders for work being carried out on the site, as well as not carrying out the demolition injunctions issued against the buildings back in October 2004.

On July 5, 2005 the High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction demanding to evacuate the families that have populated the new houses. On Sunday, July 10 the settlers left the houses.

In the beginning of August the state promised the High Court of Justice it would implement demolition orders against nine permanent dwellings built illegally in the outpost Amona, after disengagement.

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