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One Can't Know, Till They've Been There

By Tamar Yonah
8/2/2007, 12:00 AM

Maybe it was because I was standing on the mountain top.  Maybe it was the addition of the quiet, with just the wind blowing and a soft flapping of tattered Israeli flags waving in the background that struck me .  But the scars were there, and they were not healing. Amona.  I went to Amona today.

I don't know. It is so surreal. I SAW it on the news, I SAW it on YouTube, I SAW it in photographs, but it pales in comparison to real life.   I wasn't planning on going to Amona today.  You see, my daughter was taking a course in Ofra, for her national service that she will be volunteering for the next year or two.  I went with one of my other kids and my niece to visit her in Ofra, and get some pizza.  Ofra is about a 30 minute drive north of Jerusalem.  While we were there, we still had some time before her next class started.  I saw Amona up on the neighboring hill, high, high up. I had this hunger to go and see it.  You see, I wasn't there when my son and other  brave 'orange youth' were, trying to stop the bulldozing down of 9 Jewish houses.  They say that Olmert wanted to make his mark, to show that he was strong and tough like Ariel Sharon.  So he was uncompromising, and demanded that these Jewish homes, on a bare hill top uninhabited for 2,000 years, until these last few years, be mowed down.  The police came by the hundreds, swarming in.  They came down in full battle gear with fierce brutality on our kids, adults, and even Members of Knesset. They bashed heads open with clubs, trampling some with their mighty horses. See this video: Amona Doc.

Well, these are the photos that i took while up there today.

The entrance to Amona.  A boulder with the Hebrew letters in black.  A bus stop is nearby, showing that the main bus comapny Egged recognizes this place and gives service to it.

What surprised me is the fact that there was so much life up there.  When you first drive in, it is just FILLED with trailer homes and families.  That surprised me, as I didn't expect all the 'life' there, after the demolition.  These families are true pioneers, and what I love about them, is that they have VISION, they see the future, and they are tough enough to withstand the present. 

Standing up on the top of the mountain of Amona, I showed my kids how important it was that we have this area.  A 360 degree periphery of the surrounding area is seen from there.  The communtiy of Ofra, the Tel Aviv area, and all of the surrounding Jewish communities.  If the arabs sat up here, it could be a launching pad for terrorists to aim rockets down on our homes, schools and roads, where families are traveling. 

Above Photo: Temporary caravans (trailer homes) of Amona's residents.

The community of Ofra with hundreds of families, schools, high schools and roads.  All targets and within shooting and rocket range.

Graffiti which states, "I came to this land to build" and "Olmert is following (or continues) Sharon".

What is important to notice in this photo above, which is not seen well, unfortunately, is the upper right homes on the neighboring mountain.  Those are Arab homes. I thought to myself, the Arabs, --they can build, and live there.  But not the Jews. 

What is important here, is that the Jews had almost all the permits and legal work finished on their homes they built in Amona.  They only did not receive the final signature from the defense minister.  A signature.  ...A lousy signature.

These homes (above) were the new (9) homes built by the 'Orange People' - residents of Amona.  They had the permits...  the electric company came and supplied lines, and other infrastructure was put in.  They say that Peace Now made trouble, and now -- there is no more. Who funds Peace Now? Is it from FOREIGN outside groups? If so, is this not infiltration and sabotage into Israel domestic matters by the enemies of the Land of  Israel?

 Driving along the road, the destruction is seen.

I wasn't prepared for it.  Yes, I saw it on the news.  Yes, my son described it to me.  Yes, I saw it in photos, and on youtube.  ...One can't know, till they've been there. I got out of my car.  I couldn't help it, I started to curse.  I admit it.  It just came out...  "Da--n Olmert!  Da--n, da--n, da--n".  I was overtaken by the devastation.  And you know what?  You reading this piece will probably say, "Seen it before Tamar, what's the big deal?"  But I am telling you, a picture, no picture does it justice.  You had to be there, see, absorb.  It was finally absorbed!

This happened less than 2 years ago.  But the scars are still fresh. What surprised me, is the spirit of these people.  After the tragedy, after the beatings, after the destruction, an Israeli flag was perched on a pole onto every mound of where a house stood, now stuck in the wreckage.  

What stubbornly in-love people these are. The wind has weathered the flags, some now just a hint of the proud blue and white, sheared from the wind.

One after another, home after home. Destruction.  The mark of Olmert, one of his legacies. Yet, each mound holds a tattered flag of Israel.  These people have the strength, and VISION.

...and a next generation.