Last updated: 1 January, 2013

Israeli court gives new reprieve to West Bank outpost

Israel’s Supreme Court has ordered that the demolition of a wildcat settlement outpost in the northern West Bank be postponed until the end of April, a court document released on Tuesday showed.

The ruling, dated December 30, extends once again demolition orders which settlement watchdog Peace Now says were originally issued in October 2004. The previous deadline for eviction of the Amona outpost’s 50 families was December 31.

The brief note giving the court decision does not detail its reasons.

Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal and often sends security personnel to demolish them. They usually consist of little more than a few trailers.

Israel’s right-wing government, which fights a general election in three weeks in which it will be looking for settler support, plans to retroactively legalise several outposts.

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank — including east Jerusalem — to be illegal.

The issue is one of the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and brought peace negotiations to a halt in September 2010, when an Israeli freeze on new West Bank settlement construction expired and Netanyahu declined to renew it.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas says that negotiations will not resume unless Israel halts settlement building.