High Court to debate on Amona outpost

Yesh Din petition High Court asking to overrule A-G decision not to demolish 30 of the 40 homes in the settlement.

Amona 2006 clashes 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Amona 2006 clashes 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
The High Court of Justice is set to debate the fate of 30 homes in the Amona outpost on Tuesday afternoon in Jerusalem.
In July it appeared as if attempts to demolish the West Bank outpost had been thwarted, when the High Court ruled that homes on contested outpost land could remain where they were until the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court adjudicated conflicting property claims between settlers and Palestinians.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein then stated that his interpretation of the High Court ruling was that only one home and a portion of the access road to the outpost needed to be removed by July 24.
Amona residents have adhered to this ruling.
But the NGO Yesh Din petitioned the High Court against Weinstein, arguing he should be held in contempt of court – charging he had circumvented the ruling for political reasons.
Yesh Din believes the ruling should be interpreted to mean that 30 of the 40 Amona homes should be demolished.
The NGO petitioned the High Court against the Amona outpost in 2008 on behalf of the Palestinian landowners on whose property the outpost was built in 1995.
The High Court had initially ruled that the outpost should be demolished by July 15. But it amended its ruling in July after settlers claimed to have purchased some of the property.
But the language of the July ruling was vague and has allowed for a dispute in its interpretation.
The High Court ruling did not state how many homes were on the contested lots and how many were on uncontested lots, considered to be private Palestinian property.
The court simply stated that structures on uncontested lots should be removed, and those structures on contested lots against which there were purchase claims could remain – pending the Magistrate’s Court ruling.
Yesh Din has now brought the matter back to the High Court.
Amona is located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, on the outskirts of the Ofra settlement.
According to the 2005 government- sponsored report on West Bank outposts by private attorney Talia Sasson, the outpost was built on private Palestinian property without the necessary permits.
The Construction and Housing Ministry spent NIS 2.16 million on infrastructure for Amona, according to Sasson.