The fate of the new Samaria community of Amona is still very much in doubt, but the rabbi of Amona, Yair Frankel, is hopeful that things will work out. “We are of course following the events in the High Court, but for us it does not matter what is decided. We believe in the justice of our cause.”
The High Court may finally rule on the long-standing Amona issue. Jewish residents who bought homes on the land where the community sits were blindsided seven years ago when Arabs filed a petition claiming ownership of the land.
In 2006, 10,000 police and IDF soldiers stormed the hilltop near Ofra to remove the residents of nine homes that had been built there. Over 300 people were injured, mostly teenage protesters and residents, as soldiers demolished the homes and police stormed the crowd with batons, water cannons, and horses. A commission of inquiry determined that police had acted far too violently and aggressively in removing the protesters.
In 2008, the High Court ordered the site evacuated, but residents and supporters responded with petitions of their own, showing proper ownership papers and registrations with the Civil Administration. Arabs and leftist petitioners, meanwhile, were able to produce documentation of ownership for just a small part of the land.
As a result, the court has delayed execution of evacuation orders several times, giving the state an opportunity to come up with a plan that would enable residents – or most of them - to remain in their homes. In its latest appearance last week, the state asked for another postponement as it further develops its plan. The response said that in any event, the petition applied to only a few of the houses at the site, while the majority of the homes in Amona were not candidates for demolition.
“After what happened in Amona a few years ago, and more recently in Beit El and Migron, which were also scenes of violence by police, it seems that everyone is much more interested in coming to a compromise than forcing evacuations,” Rabbi Frank told Arutz Sheva in an interview. “On most of the homes there is no petition, and even on those that the Arabs claim as theirs, the High Court is likely to refer the matter back to the civil courts.” Overall, he said, these were positive developments.
“On Tisha B'Av next week, a day that we all feel the absence of the Temple, among other things, I am sure residents and supporters of Amona will concentrate more closely on their prayers,” Rabbi Frank said. “Just like we cannot accept the finality of the Temple's destruction and long for its rebuilding, we cannot accept other destructions. We hope for a salvation for Amona, and for the entire Jewish people.”