DEFENSE MINISTER AVIGDOR LIBERMAN ENCOURAGED PROTESTERS as Israeli police scuffled with defiant residents resisting the ordered evacuation of Amona on Wednesday.

The defense minister called protest a “fundamental right in a democracy.” Police said on Wednesday night that they were unsure how long the evacuation of Amona would take.

Jewish Home Knesset rep. Moti Yogev vowed the state would build thousands of houses for each Amona home that is evacuated.

Speaking to Israeli radio from Amona, Yogev accused the Supreme Court of acting politically to have the settlement dismantled. He criticized former President Obama for leading opposition against Jewish West Bank settlement during his two terms in office.

Yogev and other settler leaders are more optimistic about the future of their movement with President Trump in the White House. Settlers are hopeful Israel will be able to declare sovereignty in the West Bank.

Last November, Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett offered to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to go along with the court decision on Amona if the prime minister agreed to retroactively legalize other unrecognized Jewish settlements as part of the arrangement bill, legislation which is currently under Knesset review.

While passage of the settlement bill seems likely, opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the prime and defense ministers would approve the legislation knowing it will not hold up in court.

Some 3,000 new housing units were approved by the government on Wednesday.

MERETZ CHAIRWOMAN ZEHAVA GAL-ON petitioned the High Court to order the prime minister to sign an agreement not to interfere with Israeli media.

The petition demands the prime minister be made to declare conflicts of interest in dealing with affairs at Channel 10, Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom. 

The petition comes amid investigations of the prime minister for corruption involving relationships with powerful media figures.

MINISTER URI ARIEL (Jewish Home) accused the Prime Minister’s Office of refusing to let him visit the Temple Mount on Wednesday, although the ban against Knesset reps. visiting the ancient site was lifted on Tuesday.

Ariel said police were taking the heat for the prime minister’s office.

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