Settlers, policemen clash at an illegal outpost, four soldiers and eleven settlers injured

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that four Israeli police officers and 11 settlers were lightly injured, on Wednesday, in clashes at Amouna illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank.

The clashes erupted after soldiers, along with Civil Administration inspectors, raided the outpost area while settlers were placing the building foundations, and planning for further constructions.
 
Haaretz added that some 150 right-wing settlers were waiting at Neveh Daniel North illegal outpost as the soldiers arrived; five settlers were arrested after paint was thrown at a military bulldozer.
 
According to Haaretz, the main struggle over outposts expected in the near future at the Ammouna illegal settlement outpost, where the Yesha Council of Settlements and Binyamin Regional Council offices are planning to relocate to buildings slated for demolition.
 
Haaretz reported that settler leaders are planning a fierce protest against the plan to demolish the nine buildings, which they believe will take place next week.
 
Attorney Talia Sasson prepared a report on illegal outposts, and presented it to the Israeli government in March 2005. The report stated that Ammouna had been built on private Palestinian land.
 
Israel officially said that it is committed to demolish buildings at the outpost by the end of January 2006; the implementation is yet to be examined.
 
Settlers of several illegal outposts started moving on Wednesday into the illegal buildings at the outpost.
 
Settler representative at the illegal outpost said that this is only the first step, and that the settlers are "determined" to prevent the demolition of their outpost.
 
"The army promised last summer that it would not demolish the homes if we didn’t stay in them", he said, "Now it is breaking its promise and so we too are relieved from our obligations."
 
An Israeli source reported that the Settlements Council in the West Bank, and Regional Council have moved their offices to the constructions in the outpost.
 
The buildings used as offices there are also slated to be demolished.
 
Meanwhile, settler leaders plan to urge other settlers and Israelis to travel to Amouna outpost next week and block roads in the area to prevent the soldiers from reaching the site.
 
Pinhas Wallerstein, chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, said on Wednesday that the "struggle will be determined and very different from the struggle over Gush Katif, in the Gaza Strip".
 
Wallerstein called on the Israelis to arrive "in thousands" to the outpost and instructed rights wing activists who were placed at roadblocks to remain near them in order to block the roads leading to the outpost.
 
Wallerstein added that the settlers, if needed, will go through Palestinian villages and "risk their lives" in order to reach the illegal outpost.
 
The Yesha Council of Settlements regards Amona as a test case ahead of the evacuation of further outposts, Haaretz added.
 
Also, the settlers claimed that the Palestinian land on which the Ammouna illegal outpost was constructed is in the "process of being purchased".
 
The Israeli Housing and Construction Minister at the time of the construction, member of Knesset, Yitzhak Levy, said on Wednesday that he had approved this construction, and coordinated it with the then Israeli Prime Minister, Ephod Barak.
 
Officials at the Yesha council said that they offered the Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert several ways of legalizing the outpost, thereby to prevent the demolitions.
 
They charged that the proposals were rejected out of political considerations rather than judicial.
 
Settler leaders called on Olmert to postpone the evacuation until after the elections.
 
They told Olmert that there are some 1380 demolition orders against what was described as "Palestinian illegal constructions", but the orders were not implemented added that 352 "illegal" tents for Bedouins established in the Negev.   
 
They pointed out that some 7,380 demolition orders against illegal Palestinian construction have not been carried out, and that 352 "illegal Bedouin outposts" have been established in the Negev.
 
Amona was installed on a hilltop east of the Ofra settlement in 1995, the settlement was constructed on Palestinian annexed lands. There are 38 families currently living there in 53 mobile homes.
 
The Sasson report revealed that the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction allocated NIS 2.1 Million for the construction of the illegal outpost despite that it was not approved by the government, and without any government allocation of lands.
 
By October 2004, the Israeli Civil Administration Office had already issued orders to demolish the nine permanent houses in Amona, but this has not yet been carried out.
 
Before the Gaza pullout in summer 2005, the Israeli government told the High Court that the demolition orders had been delayed until the completion of the pullout, and that the army and the head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Pinhas Wallerstein, had reached an agreement that those houses would not be populated.
 
Yet, settlers moved their and the construction of the houses was completed.
 
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz promised the High Court that the outpost would be evacuated by the end of January, "unless the security situation did not enable this", according to Mofaz.  
In Hebron, settlers hurled eggs at troops ahead of the scheduled eviction of settlers from the Hebron market; the eviction order is to come into effect on January 15, 2006.
 
The settlers are posted in the market after occupying it and forcing the residents out. 
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