36 structures in 48 hours for new Jewish village in Samaria

The village of Amichai’s initial residents will be the families expelled from Amona a year ago whose homes were destroyed by court order.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a lightning push reminiscent of the pre-State “tower and stockade” settlements that were built overnight by Jewish pioneers, three dozen modular homes were brought to the newly created village of Amichai in the Binyamin region of Samaria on Wednesday to be set up over the next two days.

The first 300 residents of the village will be those whose Amona homes were destroyed by the state last February after the High Court of Justice ruled that they had been illegally built on private Palestinian land. Forty-two families were evicted in all. Many of them have been living in unsuitable conditions in the dormitories of a field school in nearby Ofra since that time.

The Amona residents had signed onto a deal offered by the government three months earlier, in December 2016, to evacuate their homes in exchange for new housing in Samaria. However, the plans for the new town were shelved for months, and the infrastructure work only began in June.

One of the former Amona residents took the long view of their struggle to settle the land.

“After a long battle, we see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said activist Avichai Boaron to the Jerusalem Post. Boaron led the campaign to save the original community.

“Judea and Samaria is no longer in Israel’s backyard but is [now] an indispensable part of the state. Its residents are not people without a home but citizens with equal rights,” stated Boaron.

“It’s a very short road from here to [the application of] sovereignty in Judea and Samaria,” he added.

Since the Rabin government imposed a freeze on new towns in 1992 in conjunction with the Oslo Accords, establishing new Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria like Amichai has remained an elusive goal. Amichai is located in the Shiloh bloc, north of Ramallah.

Meanwhile, it was reported Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon agreed on the budget for an alternative housing plan for the residents of Netiv Ha’Avot, a neighborhood in the Gush Etzion village of Elazar that is slated for destruction in the coming days.

The State Attorney’s Office had already submitted an urgent request to the Supreme Court Tuesday night to postpone the execution of its ruling until June 15 to allow for the completion of the temporary site.

A draft resolution on the matter is being prepared, which will be brought up for a cabinet decision on Sunday.