Bennett: We lost the battle, but we'll win the war

'We lost Amona, but the residents' sacrifice will help save thousands of other homes.'

Uzi Baruch ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) mourned the destruction of Amona in an address to the Knesset plenum on Wednesday while IDF forces demolish the town, saying that the future was uncertain for the 42 families being evicted.

“Brothers and sisters,” said Bennett, “the residents of Amona are heroes. For 20 years they lived on that mountain, under difficult physical conditions, [suffering] winter storms and summer heat, facing security threats and intifadas.”

But, continued Bennett, “worse than any natural disaster is the uncertainty of their future.”

The Education Minister spoke just hours after security forces implemented a general closure of Amona and prepared to evict residents and protesters, enforcing an evacuation order by the Supreme Court.

While a deal negotiated between Bennett and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and later signed by the town of Amona promised a peaceful evacuation in exchange for alternative housing at a nearby site for 24 of the town’s 42 families, along with a second neighborhood at a separate site for the remaining 18, no work has been done on the replacement housing.

Last week a Supreme Court injunction barred work on the replacement neighborhood adjacent to Amona’s present location.

Though Bennett conceded that despite his party’s efforts, the battle to preserve Amona had failed, he added that its loss was instrumental in the passage of the Regulation Law, a bill intended to protect thousands of homes across Judea and Samaria from suffering the same fate as Amona.

“Today is a difficult day. These are very trying times.”

“We need to say the truth: we started our efforts [to prevent the evacuation] when there was already a final eviction order from the Supreme Court against us. We came to Amona, looked the residents in the yes and said that we know that we are going to fight against all odds, and we didn’t give up,” said Bennett.

“Together with the residents of Amona we turned every stone, exhausted every option, and tried every process to save Amona. Unfortunately, the struggled for Amona failed. We lost the battle, but we are winning the war for the Land of Israel.”

“The residents of Amona, by their sacrifice and tenacity, have helped save thousands of Jewish families from eviction,” said Bennett, referring to the Regulation Law, whose passage was a condition of the Amona agreement.