Daily Israel Report

Court Orders State to Compensate Arab Land Claims

Court sides with Arab claimants over Amona community north of Jerusalem, says state must pay and evacuate.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/25/2014, 12:14 AM

Amona (file)
Amona (file)
Flash 90

A court on Tuesday ordered the state to pay compensation to local Arabs over their claims of having owned land in the Jewish community of Amona, located to the north of Jerusalem.

The six Arab claimants were given a total of 300,000 shekels ($85,700), and further the court ordered that if the Jewish residents of the town on the land claimed by the Arab side are not removed by 2015, the state must pay another 48,000 shekels ($13,500), reports AFP.

The extreme left legal group Yesh Din praised the ruling, saying "now what is required is evacuation and we're going to fight on until that is achieved."

The town of Amona has faced the threat of forcible eviction since 2006, when the Supreme Court ruled that it was built in part on privately owned Arab land. Amona residents say that most of the land on which their community was built was legally purchased from local Arabs.

The attorney representing Amona residents, Harel Arnon, said last December that residents are frustrated with the government.

“Amona wasn’t established by thugs who built secretly in the night,” said Arnon. “It was built by the authorities, with their knowledge and with government funding. It’s true that some things were done wrong. Agreements were not always signed, land rights were not always clarified. But the state built [Amona], and now denies it."

Another attorney for Amona, Mordechai Weiss, noted at the time that one of the plaintiffs is a member of Hamas.

As for Yesh Din, the leftist group stirred controversy last October when it was revealed that members of the group took part in an anti-Semitic Arab celebration on the ruins of the Jewish community of Homesh in Samaria.

During the celebration Jewish symbols at the site were replaced with PLO flags, and a banner was waved that depicted a man in religious Jewish garb with a spear through his mouth, as calls to kill Jews were shouted.

Yesh Din was instrumental in causing the celebration as well. The group’s lawyers filed the lawsuit that lead the government’s legal adviser to declare that the government would transfer Homesh to Arab hands.