Despite Amona deal, no progress on replacement housing

Residents of Amona say government doing nothing to work on implementation of deal which secured their peaceful evacuation.

David Rosenberg,

Amona
Amona
Flash90

Three weeks after residents of the Samarian community of Amona accepted a compromise agreement with the government which would allow most of the town to be relocated to nearby plots on the same hill, locals say no work has been done to prepare for their move in February.

The agreement, hammered out by Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, secured the orderly evacuation of Amona in exchange for promises to construct new housing for 24 of the 42 families on plots located on the same hill the town is presently located on. In addition, the remaining 18 families would receive new homes in a separate community in Samaria.

As part of the deal, the government requested and received a delay in executing the Supreme Court’s demolition orders for Amona, giving the state until February 8th to complete the evacuation. Before it approved the delay, the court demanded that the residents of Amona submit written pledges to uphold their side of the agreement, even if the government does not follow through on its own promises.

But on Friday, a committee of local residents issued a statement claiming that despite the government having included clear timetables for the construction of the replacement housing, no progress whatsoever had been made yet.

“Twenty days have passed already since we made the agreement – and nothing has happened. Not a single tractor has been seen in the field [where the replacement units are to be built]. And it only gets worse from there. Plot 38 [one of the sites planned for use in the relocation] has been banned from use in construction [projects], and no project leader has yet been appointed. We’ve been told that ‘No work will be started over the next two weeks’.”

Given all this, residents increasingly fear the government’s promises will go unfulfilled – and perhaps were never intended to be kept.

“Did the state plan from the get-go not to keep its promises? Right now, a month before the evacuation date, the only chance we have to make progress and succeed [in the planned relocation] is if the Prime Minister puts his full weight behind it, otherwise we will return to a situation wherein a nationalist government is responsible for destroying a Jewish t own and expelling hundreds of its residents from their homes.”


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