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AMONA - Chronology of the unauthorized construction

Peace Now details the illegal origins and development of one of the largest outposts in the West Bank

Amona outpost from the air

The illegal outpost of Amona was established during the second half of the 1990's on a hill located about one kilometer east of the Ofra settlement. Approximately 30 families reside there today, making it one of the largest outposts in the West Bank. Up until 15 months ago (April 2004), all of the buildings in the outpost were mobile, with the exception of a number of relatively flimsy structures that had been put up.

In April 2004, the inhabited outpost of Ginot Arye, located south of Ofra, was evacuated. Despite all the threats that had been bandied about, the evacuation was carried out by the residents themselves. However, this move was not a sign of the beginning of a new trend in the government's attitude towards the outposts, but rather was a continuation of the old trend of masking the government's true intentions. Ginot Arye had been, from its very onset, established on property that even the State of Israel acknowledged had been privately owned Palestinian land. Its evacuation was intended to alleviate insistent legal pressures, without trying to deal with the length and breadth of the phenomenon of outposts as a whole.

So, while Ginot Arye was being evacuated, its caravans were transferred to two points east of Ofra. Consequently, two new outposts were created, one of which (Ofra North East) was populated almost immediately. That same week, construction began on nine permanent buildings in Amona. It seems that these events (evacuating the outpost, transferring the caravans to two eastward locations, and constructing permanent buildings in Amona) were part of an unwritten agreement between the settlers and the Ministry of Defense.

In the beginning of 2005, Peace Now received (after many delays) an official reply from the Civil Administration stating that the construction underway in Amona was illegal. Since then, Peace Now has been carrying out extensive correspondence with the Civil Administration in an effort to bring about necessary actions to apply the law against the construction which is still ongoing there. The rate of construction peaked during the first months of 2005. In fact, the frames for the nine permanent buildings were completed in March 2005. Since then, work on the site has been continuing, especially during unconventional hours: weekends, holidays, late afternoons and evenings.

In the beginning of July 2005, Peace Now submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice where the respondents were the Minister of Defense, the Commander of the IDF forces on the West Bank, the Head of the Civil Administration and the Commander of the SHAI Police District, accusing them of not implementing the cease and desist orders for work being carried out on the site, as well as not carrying out the demolition injunctions issued against the buildings back in October 2004.

(To see the full text of Peace Now's petition to the High Court of Justice - open the file at the bottom of this page)

On July 5, 2005 the High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction demanding to evacuate the families that have populated the new houses. On Sunday, July 10 the settlers left the houses.

In the end of July, the state is expected to reply to Peace Now's demand to execute the demolition orders.