Israeli leader hints settler outpost evacuation nearing

Israel's prime minister says his "heart is with" the residents of the Amona West Bank settlement outpost but he is bound by law to remove them.

Benjamin Netanyahu's statement Friday appears aimed at preparing the settlers for their imminent evacuation. He pleaded with them to act responsibly and not harm soldiers carrying out orders.

Residents have been bracing for days after rejecting a final compromise to leave voluntarily.

Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts — erected without permission but generally tolerated by the Israeli government — that dot the West Bank.

In 2014, Israel's Supreme Court ordered that Amona be evacuated, after it determined the outpost was built on private Palestinian land, giving the government until this Dec. 25 to tear down the outpost's 50 trailer homes.