by JPost.com Staff, Lahav Harkov, Gil Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff
A new deal has been formulated for the evacuation of the Amona outpost which would allow its residents to "remain on their hilltop," Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) said Monday.
Education minister says deal must gain approval of Amona families and the High Court.
The High Court of Justice has ruled that the outpost must be demolished by December 25 due to its location on private Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Bennett stated that the deal had been reached in consultation with the prime minister and attorney-general, but he would first have to get the approval of the Amona residents themselves before it can be finalized. Until he gains their approval, Bennett said that he would not divulge the details of the agreement. Amona residents were expected to meet with Bennett on Monday to discuss the deal.
Speaking at a Bayit Yehudi faction meeting, Bennett suggested that the homes would be moved, but would remain on the current hilltop where they are now situated. "This is a new draft agreement that provides a horizon for a longer period and with a vision to include all of the families with the potential to expand in the future."
Bennett said that he believes that the outpost's residents will agree to move to new land on Amona hill and that they will then be given permission by the High Court to implement it.
Amona residents have vowed not to abandon their homes. Bennett said that violence must not be used under any circumstances for any reason.
Bennett lamented the fact that the homes would have to be moved, but said it was a victory that they would remain on the hilltop. He suggested as well that the agreement would include legislation to legalize other outposts in a similar situation as Amona.
The state is expected to ask for a delay in the demolishing of Amona despite the fact that a previous request for a postponement was rejected by the High Court last month.
The 40 Amona families have so far resisted all relocation plans and have insisted that the Knesset pass a law that recognizes their homes as legal. The High Court has ruled they were built without permits on privately owned Palestinian property.
The Knesset on Wednesday passed the first reading of the settlement regulation bill, which if it becomes law would retroactively legalize some 4,000 settler homes on private Palestinian property, and would offer compensation to the landowners.
But at the request of the Kulanu Party, the legislation excludes outposts which have outstanding court demolition orders, such as Amona.
Right-wing lawmakers who support the bill hope its swift passage, and the victory this would represent for the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, will sway the Amona families to voluntarily leave their homes.
JPost.com Staff, Lahav Harkov, Gil Hoffman, Tovah Lazaroff
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