March 24, 2017

Israeli Forces Ready to Empty West Bank Settlement

02 February 2017, 12:41 | Wayne Allen

UN vote critical of Israel settlements was proper

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu taking to his chief of staff Yoav Horowitz at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem

Israel has begun the evacuation of settlers from the outpost of Amona, which the Israeli Supreme Court ruled is illegally built on private Palestinian land.

Amona, home to about 40 families, was built on lands privately owned by Palestinians, who successfully petitioned Israeli courts for the outpost's removal.

In a late-night statement Tuesday, Israel's defence ministry said the latest construction was approved by Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel unveiled plans for 3,000 new homes for West Bank settlements, the fourth such announcement in the less than two weeks since US President Donald Trump took office.

Settlements are seen as an obstacle to peace, an impediment to any future two-state deal, and are widely condemned by Palestinians and by the global community.

An Israeli settlement at West Bank.

Slogans such as "Jews don't expel Jews" were raised, and some protestors set fire to tyres and trash piles.

Two days later on January 26, Israeli officials gave the final approval for 153 settler homes in east Jerusalem.

On Tuesday, the Israeli army ordered residents to leave the outpost within 48 hours.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 13 officers were lightly hurt in the evacuation from stones and an unidentified liquid hurled by protesters and pro-settlement activists, several of whom were arrested.

An attempt to evacuate Amona in 2006, around a decade after its founding, led to violent clashes and only nine structures being demolished.

About 50 families now live in Amona. The global community views them as a major obstacle to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state. As such, Amona residents claimed that the Israeli government violated the initial agreement, prompting them to renew their campaign against the community's relocation. The Palestinians claim the territory along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as parts of a future independent state - a position that has wide global backing.

The former USA administration of Barack Obama despaired of Israel's accelerating settlement expansion which it regarded as the biggest obstacle to Middle East peace.

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