Emergency talks planned to save 40 Amona homes

Nine residences in nearby Ofra also slated for demolition.

The Amona outpost in the West Bank (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Amona outpost in the West Bank
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Residents of the West Bank Amona outpost together with Likud activists plan to host an emergency meeting on Monday afternoon in an effort to save their homes and nine houses in the nearby Ofra settlement from demolition.
The High Court of Justice has ordered the demolition of the 40 modular homes in the Amona outpost by December 25 in response to a Peace Now petition.
It has similarly ordered the demolition of nine homes in the nearby settlement of Ofra by February 2017 in response to a Yesh Din petition.
In both cases the homes were built without permits on private Palestinian property.
For right-wing politicians, activists and settlers the two cases have become linked, because of the similar time frame and the proximity of the homes.
They have called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Knesset to approve legislation that would retroactively legalize some 2,000 unauthorized homes in Judea and Samaria. In cases where the structures are built on private Palestinian property, the legislation would compensate the landowners.
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has already stated that such legislation is unconstitutional.
But right-wing politicians and settlers believe that without the legislation, the issues will be tackled in a piecemeal fashion by the courts.
MK David Bitan (Likud), who visited Ofra on Wednesday, said that special legislation is needed specifically for Ofra. He promised to bring other Likud politicians to visit Ofra in the next two months.
In light of the court’s rulings on private Palestinian property, Ofra’s status is considered precarious, even though the government approved its creation in the 1970s and many of the homes were built on land that is privately owned by Palestinians.
Only a small zoning plan was approved for the portion of the settlement located on state land, on what was formerly part of a Jordanian military base. The nine homes in question are among the structures built in 2008 on private Palestinian property on land within the settlement and are not part of an attempt to extend the community’s boundaries.