Israeli settlers agree to evacuate Amona outpost

Sunday 18/12/2016
Outpost is built on private Palestinian land

AMONA OUTPOST (Palestinians territories) - Residents of a wildcat settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank agreed in a vote Sunday to evacuate their hilltop outpost peacefully, a week before a court-imposed deadline for their eviction.

"Amona approved government proposal," by a vote of 45 for and 29 against, a spokesperson wrote on the outpost's English-language Twitter account.

The 40 families living at Amona, in the northern West Bank, faced a Supreme Court order to leave the site by December 25 because it was found to have been built on private Palestinian land.

Despite the prospect of a violent eviction by the army, they turned down a compromise deal on Thursday aimed at meeting their objections while obeying the court.

On Sunday, they were offered a new deal after an all-night meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Until dawn this morning we made very great efforts to reach an agreed solution on Amona," Netanyahu told ministers and media at Israel's weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu will now need to go back to the court and ask for a stay of execution, probably 30 days, for the new plan to be implemented.

Media said the latest draft proposed moving 24 of the 40 families to plots adjacent to the current site that are not covered by the Supreme Court ruling.

However, Israeli rights group Yesh Din said a Palestinian claimant to one of those alternative plots has come forward, rasing the prospect of a fresh legal battle.