Israel approves construction of 3000 new housing units in West Bank

Janis ColeFeb 02, 2017

Live broadcasts on Israeli television showed buses with thousands of police officers entering Amona to carry out a court-ordered evacuation of the outpost, which was built on private Palestinian land.

"The Israeli government balance is very awkward, they are evacuating 40 settlement homes in Amona and compensating the illegal settlers with 3,000 housing settlement units".

At around 10:45 AM, the Israel Police announced that the law enforcement part of the evacuation operation has begun, 11 years after the outpost was evacuated for the first time.

All settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disagrees.

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Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorised outposts.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in December that Amona be evacuated by February 8 and that the settlers be relocated to a new settlement adjacent to the existing Ofra settlement near Ramallah.

Israel's latest announcement of new settlements in the West Bank risks making a two-state solution impossible, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Wednesday.

Israel has accelerated plans for construction on land claimed by Palestinians since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who's promised to be more supportive of the Jewish state than his predecessor. Over the night and early this morning (Wednesday), hundreds of right-wing activists flocked to the outpost in order to support the residents who are refusing to evacuate. More than 15 people were arrested as clashes broke out between activists and security forces, a police said.

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The Amona outpost is home to around 50 families, some 250 people. Several police officers are said to have been injured by the rocks.

Last January, the Israeli government requested that the Supreme Court grant a final extension of its original deadline, which was December 25, 2016. The Palestinians claim the territory along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, as parts of a future independent state - a position that has wide worldwide backing.

The Obama administration had pressured Israel tofreeze the building of additional settlements, over fears they could derail hopes of a negotiated two-state solution.

The settlements are considered by most countries to be a major obstacle to a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

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