Mounted Israeli police scuffle with pro-settler supporters at the Amona outpost, February 1, 2006.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently asked Likud lawmakers to come up with legislation to postpone the demolition of the Amona outpost, ordered in 2014 by the High Court of Justice.
MK Miki Zohar stepped up to the plate on Wednesday, when he submitted a bill that would impose a seven-year waiting period between the issuing of an administrative demolition order and its implementation.
According to Zohar, seven years is a reasonable amount of time. His bill would apply only in cases in which a home was built in a place with infrastructure provided by the state, and if the family had been living there for at least 10 years.
“We should do everything to reduce the harm to evacuees and allow the government a more significant amount of time to execute the demolition order,” Zohar stated.
“Seven years makes sense when there isn’t anyone who’s waiting to live on the land.”
According to Zohar, Netanyahu is considering his proposal together with the attorney- general.
The High Court ruled in 2014 that the small hilltop community of 40 families must be demolished by the end of this year, because the homes, many of them modular, were built on private Palestinian land. It added that the property cannot be retroactively legalized.
The ruling came in response to a petition by the NGO Yesh Din on behalf of 10 Palestinians from the nearby village of Silwad who claim ownership of the land.
The outpost, which is located on the outskirts of the Ofra settlement, was first built in 1995 with a NIS 2.16 million grant form the Ministry of Construction and Housing.
Its residents have rejected a government plan to relocate them at a new, legal site near the Shiloh settlement.
Instead, they have called on lawmakers to rally to their cause and work to prevent the destruction of their homes.
On Wednesday evening, the National Union toured the outpost under the leadership of Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, also of the Bayit Yehudi Party.
“We will fight with all our might to prevent the evacuation of this community because of political persecution from extremist left-wing groups,” Ariel said.
He recalled the violent clashes between settlers and security forces that occurred at the outpost in 2007, when the IDF executed a High Court ruling and demolished nine homes that had just been built there.
Ariel called on the government to find a way to legalize the outpost.
“We don’t want a repeat of those same images from a decade ago,” he said, as he swore that Amona would “not fall” for a second time.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.