Over PM’s Objection, Israel’s Parliament Aims to Legalize West Bank Outposts

Court Has Already Ordered Amona Outpost Demolished by December

In a last ditch attempt to override a court order to demolish the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona, the ruling Likud Party of Israel today pushed a vote which retroactively legalized the homes there and in other illegal outposts. The vote was pushed despite objections from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Like a lot of the illegal outposts in the West Bank, Amona was built on privately-owned Palestinian land. The outpost was founded in 1995, and has been repeatedly ruled illegal by Israel’s High Court, with the most recent ruling setting a December 25 deadline for its demolition.

The bill passed today is just the start of a long and uncertain process of trying to prevent the demolitions, and with so many High Court rulings backing the demolition it isn’t clear that the parliament can overturn those rulings this late in the game.

Israel’s current far-right government heavily depends on support from the settler movements, and this includes those in illegal outposts. The evacuation is thus couched in the usual existential threat terms that anything controversial in Israeli politics seems to find itself surrounded by.

The Netanyahu government has tried to come up with plans to placate the settlers by moving them just a short distance to another settlement, on land that at the very least isn’t established as privately owned by someone other than the settlers. The settlers, however, have resisted heavily.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.