State Attorney: Evacuating Amona not a priority

Prosecutor's office says state has to deal with more important matters first and will eventually enforce building laws in the area.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 24, 2010 18:56
1 minute read.
amona houses on hill

amona houses 298 88 peac. (photo credit: Peace Now)

The State Attorney's Office announced to the Supreme Court on Sunday that it is not a priority to evacuate the Amona outpost built on the private land of Palestinian residents.

The Attorney's Office explained that the state has to deal with other, more important matters, and will eventually enforce building laws in the area.

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"The government's policies...also consider broader national interests," the Attorney's Office explained.

In May, the state argued in a High Court hearing that the civil administration was so busy enforcing the building moratorium in the settlements that it had no time to enforce demolition orders issued as long ago as 1997 against the 35 illegal structures in Amona.

During the hearing, the state also admitted that three weeks after spotting a new building under construction in the illegal outpost, in violation of the moratorium and the planning and building laws, it had still not issued a demolition order against the structure.

The hearing was held over a petition filed by Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights, demanding that the state implement the demolition orders against all of the buildings in Amona.

“All this talk that all the efforts are being channeled to law enforcement against violations of the moratorium have proved false,” Yesh Din attorney Michael Sfard said. “If the state really meant what it said, it would have demolished this building immediately.”

At the end of the hearing, the court issued a show-cause order, shifting the burden of explanation to the state and asking it to explain why it was not implementing the demolition orders.

Built around 1995 and located on a hilltop opposite the built-up area of the Ofra settlement, Amona is one of the oldest outposts.

It is best known, however, for the clashes that took place there in February 2006 when the army and the police demolished nine permanent homes that were built there without the proper permits. Some 200 soldiers, police, settlers and activists were injured when protesters took a stand inside the homes and refused to leave until they were forcibly evacuated.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.


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