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Govt. May Seek Alternative to Demolition in Amona

Senior officials tour Amona in what may indicate an attempt to avoid demolition in the latest Israeli-PA land dispute.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/30/2013, 6:32 PM

Amona
Amona
Flash 90

Senior government and military officials in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) toured the town of Amona on Sunday morning in an apparent attempt to find an alternative to demolition, the Walla news site has reported.

Palestinian Authority Arabs have claimed ownership of the land on which the Israeli town was built, leading to fears that the town will be demolished, as Migron and the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El recently were following similar land disputes.

The government is expected to submit its stance to the Supreme Court on Sunday regarding the dispute. The State Attorney’s Office previously asked for a one-week delay in preparing its response.

Brigadier-General Eitan Dangot, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, reportedly took part in Sunday’s tour, as did IDF Civil Administration head Moti Almoz, General (res.) Gilad Altman, the advisor to Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon on Settlement issues, and Defense Ministry legal advisor Ahaz Ben-Ari.

As part of the tour, officials reportedly considered the option of creating a new access road to the town. The current main road goes through land that has been claimed as private Arab property.

Amona residents say they purchased 70 percent of the land their town is built on from local Arabs. Homes built on the purchased land should not be destroyed, they argue.

Residents of the town reported that on Friday they were visited by Minister of Economy and Trade Naftali Bennett and MK Ayelet Shaked of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party.

In February 2006, the Israel Police were ordered to demolish nine homes in Amona. Hundreds of protesters showed up to oppose the demolition. Over 200 were injured, some seriously, in clashes that opened a renewed public debate on the issue of police violence.