Amona residents reject government proposal

Residents of Amona reject absentee property arrangement agreement, paving the way for an eviction within two weeks.

Uzi Baruch,

Amona
Amona
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

The residents of Amona on Wednesday night rejected the arrangement agreed upon between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jewish Home Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.

As such, the community is expected to be evacuated within the next two weeks, an operation for which police forces have already begun training.

The agreement would have seen Amona's residents leave their homes by the date required by the Israeli Supreme Court, or by a future date which the Supreme Court would set if they agree to the government's request to delay the expulsion.

In return, the government would have immediately begun work on eleven portable buildings in Lot 38, which has an area of six dunams. In addition, the government would have built four portable buildings in the lots immediately next to Amona, and given them permits for two years.

During the two-year period, the government would have turned to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, requesting they remove owners' names from the property, since the land is "absentee property" whose owners have not recognized or paid taxes on it for decades.

In a statement on Wednesday night, the residents explain why they chose to reject the arrangement.

“Over the past year we led our lives with a single purpose - the desire to remain home. A desire to stay on the Amona hill.

“The struggle we led resulted in many achievements for the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria. Among other things we brought the advancement of the Regulation Law.

“Unfortunately, in the final stretch of the campaign for our homes - we were left out of the Regulation Law. We are left facing a bitter truth of an expected eviction: The destruction of our homes and community, and trauma for our children and for us.

“We were willing to accept the destruction of our private homes, and a move from place to place, if only a Jewish community would remain on the hill. But the proposed arrangement does not provide any guarantee or commitment that we will indeed receive an alternative home. In light of this and in view of the uncertainty in the proposal, the residents of Amona decided tonight, after ten hours of debate, to reject the proposed layout.”

Watch: Activists protest against Amona deal prior to the residents' decision to reject it

Amona residents were urged during the day to accept the arrangement. One of those calls came from Rabbi Haim Druckman, one of the leading rabbis of religious Zionism.

Rabbi Druckman called on residents to "choose the straight and true path, to see the half-filled cup which is indeed fuller than expected even if the missing parts of it hurt for all of us. To accept the solution which our representatives in the government obtained for Amona which, even if it is not a complete solution, at least provides for the main aspect which is that Amona will stay on this good hill and it will not be left barren or transferred to any other nation."

He also urged them not to get into disputes with police and soldiers. "On the basis of the suggested arrangement, which maintains Amona's presence on the hill, there is no justification for a struggle with security forces or for an altercation with unforeseeable consequences.”




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