Likud minister: Amona evacuation 'much ado about nothing'

Tzachi Hanegbi rejects claims Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria threatened, says Amona eviction 'just' a few dozen families.

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Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi Hanegbi
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Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Minister for the Prime Minister’s Office, dismissed concerns that thousands of Jewish homes across Judea and Samaria could be threatened with demolition should the Regulation Law not be passed, saying the simmering coalition crisis was “much ado about nothing.”

On Thursday, residents of the embattled Samarian town of Amona called upon supporters to make their way to the community, saying that the evacuation was likely to take place Saturday night.

The warning was issued just days after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) reached a deal whereby the Regulation Law, protecting communities from ex post facto claims of ownership on the land by absentee owners, would be passed – but without the “Amona clause” which would make its affects retroactive and erase a Supreme Court decision.

Instead, under the framework of the deal, Amona would be relocated to a nearby location on the same hill, and normalized there.

In arguing for the Regulation Law, Bennett and his supporters charged that without such legislation, thousands of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria could suffer the same fate as Amona.

Hanegbi, son of legendary Lechi Underground member Geulah Cohen, the outspoken rightist who also participated in the resistance against the 1982 evacuation of Yamit in Sinai, differs from his mother's viewpoints and downplayed the evacuation of Amona, remarking that the overwhelming majority of communities in Judea and Samaria were safe from such evictions. He is a good friend of Netanyahu and sources speculated that this is the reason for the statement.

There are, actually, significant numbers of homes that could face similar law suits if the law is not passed.

“We’re talking about a few dozen families who will be removed from their homes later this month. It’s a sad, painful result of a series of long processes – perhaps even failures – that span years,” Hanegbi told Army Radio.

In the scheme of things, however, Hanegbi said the evacuation of Amona was a small matter, and unworthy of the coalition crisis it has sparked.

“Shakespeare wrote a wonderful play, Much Ado About Nothing,” said Hanegbi. “That’s not to say that the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria is ‘much ado about nothing’, but this is a matter of a few dozen families being relocated – the hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria know that even in a final status agreement, the overwhelming majority of them will remain in their homes.”