Amona residents: We're not objects that can be thrown around

Amona residents, Jewish Home lawmakers reject Attorney General's proposal to move the community to temporary structures.

Nitsan Keidar,

Hadas Parush/Flash 90

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s proposed solution for Amona was dismissed on Monday night by residents of the town, which is slated for eviction by December 25, as well as by lawmakers from the Jewish Home party.

In a legal opinion published on Monday evening, Mandelblit suggested moving the residents of Amona to temporary structures on three plots located north of the community.

The solution is a temporary one, for a period of about eight months, and will move the residents to property defined as "absentee property", meaning assets granted to the state of Israel which originally belonged to individuals who fled to the territory of a hostile nation during the 1948 War of Independence.

The solution is based on a 1998 legal opinion by then-Military Advocate General, Uri Shoham, who opined that absentee property may be used under circumstances of urgent public need.

Mandelblit stated, however, that the temporary solution will only be valid until such a time that the Knesset passes the Regulation Law, at which point the situation will no longer be considered urgent and the Defense Ministry would be required to immediately vacate the plots.

The residents of Amona immediately dismissed the solution, calling it “ridiculous and degrading”.

"The outline offered by Mandelblit is not a solution for the residents of Amona at all. This outline is ridiculous and degrading and was suggested by a person who does not see the dozens of families and hundreds of children who built a life here for twenty years. We are not objects that can be thrown around every few months. We will not be uprooted from our home only to be thrown again from the same place eight months later, into the unknown,” they said.

"The public will not tolerate the destruction of Amona, as evidenced by the call of all the religious Zionist rabbis. There are only two possibilities: Enacting the Regulation Law which will prevent a terrible injustice, or forced evictions and pain for hundreds of Jews, an eviction that the Prime Minister and his ministers will be held accountable for. Amona will not fall again," they added.

MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) said that Mandelblit’s proposal effectively “puts an end to the solution of absentee property which stood at the Attorney General’s doorstep for a year.”

"The residents of Amona will not agree, and rightfully so, to a temporary solution that will ultimately result in them being expelled from their homes. The aim of this legal opinion is to spread a smoke screen and remove the Regulation Law from the agenda," added Smotrich.

MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) dismissed Mandelblit’s plan as well and stressed that the only solution to legalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria is the so-called “Regulation Law”.

"The opinion of the Attorney General speaks about the relocation of the residents of Amona to absentee property for a period of eight months in order to allow the state to legalize land for a permanent neighborhood in Shvut Rachel – which is far away from Amona. We’ve expressed our firm opposition to this solution all along and it is unacceptable even if it is presented in stages,” she said.

"The goal is the legalization of the communities in Judea and Samaria, and it will be achieved by continuing to promote the Regulation Law, which we will bring for approval in a first reading on Wednesday. Throughout the past few months I have said that the best way to legalize the communities is the Regulation Law, but if other methods are proposed that will provide a strategic solution for the settlement enterprise in general and to Amona in particular, we will support them and promote them for the sake of the normalization of the lives of the residents,” added Mualem-Refaeli.

Mandelblit’s new legal opinion came just hours after it was reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman were pulling out all the stops to prevent the passage of the Regulation Law.

The solution involving “absentee property” was the solution preferred all along by Netanyahu, who last week announced the creation of a special committee for this purpose.