(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Residents of the Amona outpost met until late Wednesday night to decide whether to accept a deal offered by Education Minister Naftali Bennett According to the proposal, residents would move within a month to new buildings that would be built on the same hilltop overlooking the Ofra settlement, but unlike Amona’s current homes, not on land owned by Palestinians.
The state would ask the High Court of Justice to delay the dismantling of their current homes from December 25 to a month later.
Amona residents met for four hours on Wednesday morning to consider the deal, then set another three-hour meeting for the evening. They said that at the end of the meeting they would vote and then tell their children their decision before informing the press.
When asked if he was worried about the residents taking so long to decide, Bennett told The Jerusalem Post: “It’s their call. The ball is in their court. But if they say no, they will have no choice but to leave the mountain.”
Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi colleague, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, said she had no doubt that if the residents approved the deal, the High Court would approve the delay in dismantling Amona.
“When the judges see the data and consider past precedent, the Supreme Court will accept the postponement, which is not for very long and would be done with the agreement [of the Amona residents to move],” Shaked said. “No one, including the court, has an interest in inflaming tensions.
If the evacuation can be done peacefully, I am sure everyone will support it.”
Meanwhile, Bayit Yehudi continues to push the settlement regulation bill that is intended to solve the problem of some 4,000 other homes built on privately owned Palestinian land.
A special Knesset committee drafting the legislation completed its deliberation on Wednesday. The committee will meet on Monday to vote on the bill and thousands of amendments submitted by opposition MKs in an effort to stymie the bill.
“We are just part of a big show in which the bill is being approved undemocratically and bringing us shame,” Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai told the committee. “I just pray we will be able to overcome the damage that will be caused.”