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Amona, West Bank, residents reject offer of new land for their homes

They are preparing for conflict as a demolition deadline of Dec. 25 approaches.

By Ed Adamczyk
Amona, West Bank, residents reject offer of new land for their homes
Israeli settlers tie tires to block roads Wednesday as they prepare for conflict after residents rejected a compromise plan offered by the Israeli government. to resettle residents of Amona, West Bank. The community, built on property owned by Palestinians, is considered an illegal outpost settlement under Israeli law and the Israeli High Court ruled it must be evacuated and demolished before December 25. Photo by Abir Sultan/European Pressphoto Agency

AMONA , West Bank, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Residents of Amona, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, rejected a government proposal Thursday to move them to nearby property and demolish their outpost.

They are preparing for conflict as a deadline of Dec. 25 for demolition of their homes approaches.

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Settlers resisted compromises offered by the Israeli government after it was proven the mountaintop community of about 40 families was illegally built on land privately owned by Palestinians. Israel's Supreme Court determined the settlement must be demolished by Dec. 25. A government offer to move the families to nearby available land was rejected after a meeting Wednesday that lasted past midnight.

The 59-20 vote by the settlers indicates a peaceful solution was not forthcoming. Evacuation orders were expected soon, and Amona residents began blocking their community's roads with tires and rocks, Ynetnews.com reported Thursday. Hundreds of Israelis traveled to Amona in solidarity on Wednesday and spent the night after the meeting in the outpost's synagogue and on the floors of residents' homes.

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The proposal offered no guarantees that all current Amona residents would be permitted to live in the new settlement, those who voted against the compromise said.

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"We have prepared the place for resistance," said a resident identified as Benjamin. "We were up all night preparing things. It isn't an active resistance rather than a passive one. In other words, we won't hit anyone or curse the police, but we won't enable them to remove us so easily. They will need to drag me from the buildings. They will need to chase me and maybe even throw me from the rooftops."

The compromise offer, to move Amona residents to a nearby property to start over, was made Monday by Naftali Bennett, Israeli education minister and leader of the right-wing Bayit Yehudi party.

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"After a lot of effort we succeeded in formulating a good plan to use absentee landowners' land and we stuck to the targets we set for ourselves, to keep Amona on the mountain. This is a new plan with greater longevity on a massive space, with huge potential for the future," Bennett said prior to the vote.

RELATED Amona, West Bank, residents reject plan to demolish their settlement

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