Israel evicts Amona settlers as 3,000 new homes approved elsewhere
After years of foot-dragging and political controversy, Israeli security forces have begun to evict several hundred Jewish settlers from an illegal outpost built on private Palestinian land, even as ministers announced the approval of thousands more settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hours before the operation to seal the outpost of Amona, Israel announced 3,000 new homes in the West Bank settlements, pressing forward with the massive surge in settlement triggered by the inauguration of Donald Trump as US president.In total, 6,000 new settlement homes have been announced since Trump’s inauguration. Next week, Israel’s parliament is expected to vote on a bill to allow the “legalisation” of a tranche of other illegal outposts built on private Palestinian land.
The fate of Amona has long threatened to destabilise Benjamin Netanyahu’s narrow coalition, which includes the far-right pro-settler party Jewish Home and other hardliners who are opposed to its demolition.
Hundreds of settler youths had gathered to oppose the demolition at Amona on Wednesday morning.As dawn broke, dozens of security personnel were seen approaching the hilltop outpost to move out residents. A bulldozer and water cannon were brought up as residents were told to pack up their belongings.
About 250 people in 50 families live in Amona, but in recent weeks dozens more people have arrived to face off against Israeli forces. Residents had said they planned to resist their evacuation peacefully.