Residents of the West Bank outpost Ma'aleh Rehavam are adamant that they will be staying put, despite having received a renewed evacuation notice from the IDF.
What makes the fate of the outpost particularly intriguing is that it lies just a kilometer and a half from the Nokdim settlement, home to new Deputy Prime Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The Israel Beiteinu head had previously stipulated that his party would not join the coalition unless thee was a freeze on the dismantling of such outposts.
According to Ma'aleh Rehavam general secretary Moriya Halamish, attempts to enlist Lieberman's aid have so far gone unanswered.
Ironically, the outpost received the latest eviction notice on the very day last week that Lieberman announced he intended to join the government.
This is not the first time the outpost - established five years ago, following the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi -has been targeted for dismantling, said former general secretary Drori Bar-Levav. Bar-Levav, who claimed "to have documents proving that the outpost is not illegal, but rather within a governmentapproved boundary," said the attempt to remove it was a way of "avoiding treating it like Gush Katif, in terms of pinui-pitzui [evacuation and compensation]."
The first time residents were slated for evacuation was more than two years ago, said Bar-Levav, at which point "our appeal wasn't rejected."
He added that Peace Now then petitioned the High Court of Justice to have the outpost removed. The court's response, he said, "was to reprimand Peace Now for its interference on the one hand, which bought us time, and later to ignore the first nonrejection of the outpost's appeal on the other, which led to the second evacuation notice."