Supreme Court Rejects Plea to Delay Amona Outpost Removal

A view of the Jewish outpost community of Amona. (Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)
A view of the Jewish outpost community of Amona. (Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

Israel’s Supreme Court has rejected a government petition to postpone the demolition of the Amona outpost, whose fate could destabilize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s coalition.

Monday’s ruling comes a day after a parliamentary committee approved a bill that, if adopted, would legalize outposts built without government permission.

The court ruled in 2014 that Amona was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished by Dec. 25 of this year.

The Amona saga goes back to 2006, when the High Court ruled that the outpost located in the Binyamin region was built on land claimed by Palestinian families. In February of that year, police and officials of the Civil Administration evacuated and razed nine buildings, facing down 4,000 Israeli protesters in a traumatic operation that saw dozens of people, including three MKs, injured.

Since then, the state has sought ways to prevent further demolitions, although various defense ministers have insisted that the remaining homes on the site will be demolished. The original settlers of Amona claim that the land was purchased from Palestinians, a claim disputed by Peace Now, which organized a petition of the claimants to demolish the homes.

The High Court had previously ruled that houses built on land claimed by Palestinians, even if those claims are unsubstantiated, must be demolished and cannot be rebuilt for as long as a decade, as evidence is gathered regarding ownership. The court in 2014 reaffirmed its earlier ruling and insisted that all the buildings on the site be demolished, with the demolition set to take place no later than the end of 2016.