Violence erupts as Israeli settlers evacuate illegal Amona outpost
Unarmed police in blue sweatshirts and black baseball caps made their way up the hill around midday on Wednesday to begin the eviction of the Amona settlement, ending months of attempts by the right-wing government to legalise the outpost.
Hundreds of hard-line sympathisers, mainly youths, lit tyres around the outpost. Many threw stones at the media and police, AFP reported.
Police said they had been in dialogue with the settlers throughout the night in order to ensure "a peaceful eviction, in accordance with their commitment to the High Court," as part of a deal reached to relocate Amona settlers to a nearby site.
"Police will strive to carry out the eviction without the use of force," a statement read.
Haaretz reported that one family in the outpost handed a bag of stun grenades and flares to the police.
|Hundreds of hard-line sympathisers lit tyres around the outpost [AFP]
Israel's Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that the outpost was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished. It has set February 8 as the final date for it to be destroyed.
Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorised outposts erected in the West Bank without permission but generally tolerated by the Israeli government.
A 2005 report found that Tel Aviv had been secretly and illegally using public money to sponsor settlers in illegal outposts.
The international community considers all Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal and regards their construction as the biggest obstacle to a peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Despite that, Israel frequently and persistently builds illegal settlements on Palestinian land – which many settlers believe is actually part of Israeli land.