Amona evacuation to continue after dark

Police state eviction of families from Amona to continue after dark despite falling temperatures.

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Gary Willig,

Evacuation of Amona
Evacuation of Amona
Eliran Aharon

The police issued contradictory statements regarding the evacuation of Amona Wednesday evening. The initial statement stated that the evacuation will pause as sundown approaches and that the evictions of the 40 families which live in Amona would resume Thursday morning. However, a later statement said that the evacuation would continue Wednesday evening.

Security forces arrived to carry out the complete evacuation of the town Wednesday morning, where they met with resistance from supporters of Amona. Police announced that 15 people were arrested during the evacuation.

The cold February weather made the evacuation more difficult for all sides Wednesday afternoon. United Hatzalah announced that it had treated people In Amona for hypothermia in addition to light injuries.

A police spokesman issued the following statement:

"The situation as of this hour in Amona: Since the beginning of the evacuation 20 police officers have been lightly injured. Several were evacuated for medical treatment in the hospital and most of them have been released while others were treated on the spot. Hundreds of youths who had gathered in the community have been removed by bus. As of now, 28 buildings have been evacuated. 11 families living in the community have been fully evacuated and 11 other families were evacuated [voluntarily] in line with the agreement [between the residents and the government]. Since the beginning of the evacuation 13 young people have been arrested for violating public order, obstructing policemen in carrying out their duties, and assaulting police officers. The evacuation continues at this time."

MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Jewish Home), who has been at Amona since the early hours of Tuesday evening and met with residents, strongly criticized the decision to begin evicting the residents of Amona from their homes before the Supreme Court could rule on the plan to provide alternative housing for the residents. The court was to respond Wednesday to leftist organization Yesh Din which had filed a suit claiming the proposed alternative plots were private Arab land.

"The Supreme Court has not yet had its say in relation to the draft plan and the state is going to evict at first light." MK Mualem said.

As part of a compromise agreement worked out by Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the 42 families of Amona were to peacefully evacuate their homes in exchange for two things: one, passage of the Regulation Law, which would protect other Jewish communities from expulsion over ownership claims made years after their construction.

In addition, the agreement provided for the relocation of 24 of the 42 families to alternative plots on the same hill where Amona currently stands. New homes and public buildings were promised as part of the deal, as well as a new community for the remaining 18 families, who would be resettled near Shilo.

Amona residents voted to accept the agreement, and the Supreme Court granted a delay in the implementation of the evacuation orders, pushing back the demolition from December 25 to no later than February 8.

No work was begun on the new neighborhood promised under the agreement because of the leftist NGO's suit. Amona residents have nowhere to go.



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