Illegal West Bank Outpost Likely to Be Legalized, Knesset Speaker Tells Settlers
Activists lobbying government against court-ordered eviction of Amona settlement say 'the wind is at our back.'
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein visited the illegal settlement outpost of Amona on Thursday, predicting that a way would be found to legalize it despite a High Court of Justice ruling ordering its evacuation.
“The solutions you proposed were once rejected by everyone,” Edelstein told the residents. “They said this was delusional. But in the end, more and more leaders and jurists have understood that there is justice in your claims and that there are ways to legalize this.
“From legalization, good things will emerge, and I hope a way is found to legalize this place without conflict,” he added.
Amona was built on privately owned Palestinian land. Part of it was violently evacuated a decade ago, and the court has ruled that the remainder must be vacated by December 25. The residents are seeking to prevent the evacuation, and the government is examining several possible ways of doing so.
Edelstein said he has discussed various solutions with legal experts – including relocating the settlement to nearby lands that are designated as absentee property, and thus controlled by the state – and that these solutions are lawful.
“There are various directions; I won’t get into the details,” he said. “The jurists I spoke with also understand that there’s a way to legalize this community.”
Asked by Haaretz whether Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit was one of those jurists, Edelstein replied, “Everyone involved in the issue understands that policemen and soldiers aren’t the solution,” meaning eviction.
“I’ve spoken with the prime minister about the issue,” he added. “I’m certain appropriate solutions will be submitted to him and he won’t be the person who stands in the way. The prime minister also understands that none of us wants to see a forcible or violent eviction or a fight within Israeli society.”
Settler leaders said they felt “the wind is at our back on this issue,” based in part on their talks with senior ministers.