The Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ) [official website] ruled Monday that a controversial West Bank settlement must be dismantled by December 25. The settlement, Amona [Times of Israel backgrounder], had been the subject of negotiations between the state and various other legal and legislative bodies [Jerusalem Post report]. In 2014, the HCJ ruled that Amona had been built without permission on private Palestinian land and gave the state two years to raze the settlement. On Monday, the HCJ rejected the state’s request for seven more months in which to complete evacuation of Amona, and enforced the deadline set in the its earlier decision.
Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. This past week, Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved the Formalization Bill, which will legalize outposts in the West Bank. In part, the bill was intended to stop the evacuation of Amona outpost [JURIST report]. In March the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said [JURIST report] that the office is concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August 2015 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while a family slept inside. Last April HRW alleged [HRW report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws.