Outposts and the Law

9 February 2017

Last week, after a decade of legal struggle led by the team of attorneys at Yesh Din, settlers were removed from Palestinian-owned private property on which they had built the settlement outpost of Amona.

Yesh Din — whose name means “there is justice” — is one of several Israeli human rights groups that NIF supports. Their legal intervention was not only instrumental in getting the Israeli government to remove the outpost, but they also successfully sued to stop the government from relocating the settlers to other privately-owned land.

For some time now, Yesh Din had been fighting to uphold the High Court’s ruling to evacuate Amona, and the battle continued through the end of the evacuation on Thursday, February 2nd. The images coming out of the evacuation of the 40-person outpost of Amona were intense and bitter. Protestors opposing the government’s action to uphold Palestinian property rights burned tires and clashed with the police.

In the wake of the evacuation of Amona, the Israeli government has acted to entrench the occupation. On the day of the eviction, Netanyahu announced he would be building thousands of additional settlement housing units and that he would establish a new official settlement, something no Israeli prime minister has done in over 20 years. On Monday, the Knesset voted in a late night session in favor of the Outpost Bill – an act could legalize other settlement outposts that infringe on Palestinian property rights.

Israeli human rights advocates, like those at Yesh Din, will be monitoring and challenging these new facts on the ground in the coming days, months and years. One legal petition has already been filed to invalidate the Outpost Bill, and Israel’s Attorney General – who previously indicated that he would not defend the bill in court – is now reportedly considering fighting the bill in court.