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How Amona settlement set Israeli precedent

The Israeli government's response in the Amona settlement dispute shows that the settlers have won, setting a clear path for future settlement battles.

It was my first visit to Amona, although not my first one to a West Bank outpost. They all look pretty much the same. The road to these officially unsanctioned outposts usually goes through a large settlement. Therefore, in local speak, the outposts are simply “add-ons” to the “main settlement.” Every large settlement has an unauthorized add-on. The settlement of Itamar, for example, has Har Gideon and Givat Arnon. Elon Moreh has Havat Skali. Yitzhar has Mitzpe Yitzhar and Givat Tkuma. The list goes on and on. All in all, there are some 120 unsanctioned settlements to which successive Israeli governments have turned a blind eye or given an approving wink and nod. All this holds true for Amona.

The road to the outpost that has stirred up a major political and diplomatic storm goes through the older and larger settlement of Ofra. A small, handwritten sign points toward an adjacent hill. After leaving the settlement, one drives along a narrow road only recently paved or upgraded. The road is strewn with dozens of tires dispersed by young, radical, right-wing Israelis known as “hilltop youth,” ready to be ignited if the government tries to carry out a forced eviction of the outpost.

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