The Israeli government will spend more than $35 million to resettle and compensate residents of Amona, the West Bank outpost slated for demolition this week, as part of a deal to peacefully relocate to other parts of the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli media reports.
In order to finance the deal, the government has approved across-the-board cuts to the 2017-2018 budget.
After the Israeli High Court ruled that the outpost was partially built on private Palestinian land, it ordered its evacuation by December 25. On December 18, Amona’s families reached a deal with the government to peacefully leave the outpost, avoiding a predicted violent showdown with the military.
Peace Now, an Israeli human rights group that petitioned the High Court for Amona’s demolition, slammed the government payout in a statement, claiming that the families would get 1 million shekels (around $259,000) each. (A government spokesperson was unable to immediately confirm that figure.)
“The right-wing settler government has conveyed a clear message — in the settlements, crime and threats pay, and how they pay,” Peace Now said.
According to Israel’s Channel 10 news, most of the $35 million will go to infrastructure, landscaping and public building at Shvut Rachel, a settlement near which Amona residents will move to. About $10.3 million will go to families for “rehabilitation of their lives.”
Naomi Zeveloff is the former Middle East correspondent of the Forward, primarily covering Israel and the Palestinian Territories.