Dozens of Jewish settlers and their supporters have vowed to resist the imminent eviction of an illegal outpost in the West Bank, after recently rejecting a government relocation deal to move to a nearby hilltop.
The Amona settlement is located on private Palestinian land.
Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered that it be evicted on Christmas Day, raising fears of a violent showdown with the authorities.
The spokesperson for the Amona settlers, Avichai Bo’Aron said: “I assume that in several hours forces will arrive to evict residents and we will conduct a vigourous and decisive fight against the uprooting of our families from their homes, the uprooting of a community and the hurt inflicted on Jewish lives that have grown up in Judea and the West Bank, the cradle of the Jewish people. We returned home and we do not intend to apologise for that.”
Avraham Eliyahu Landsberg, a student and supporter of the Amona settlement said: ‘‘The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. We refuse to give up one centimetre of Israeli land. Even if sometimes a battle is lost, in the end we will win the war.”
The dispute over the outpost near Ramallah has taken on international significance amid concern over Israeli settlement expansion and recent moves by the Knesset to legalise thousands of settler homes in the West Bank.
Earlier this month, Israeli lawmakers voted to advance a bill that would retroactively legalise settler homes built on private Palestinian land. That move was criticised by the UN’s human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
Under international law Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal, but Israel recognises some and not others. Settlements such as Amona are not recognised by Israel.