Residents of Amona, scheduled for demolition, to decide on government proposal

While Amona’s residents contemplate whether to accept an alternative solution presented by the government, the community’s supporters protested outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Jerusalem residence against the scheduled demolition of homes. 

Hundreds of demonstrators protested the planned evacuation of Amona at Jerusalem’s Paris Square, near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence, Tuesday night.

The small community of approximately 40 Jewish families is scheduled to be demolished on December 25 in accordance with a High Court of Justice ruling in 2014 that found homes in Amona to have been built on private Palestinian land. Although many of the protesters directed their criticism at the High Court of Justice, a good number also addressed what they felt to be the responsibility of the prime minister and his coalition in preventing any evacuation of Amona.

“I tell the prime minister that this government was elected because of us and it needs to bring Jewish homes to Judea and Samaria,” Avi Naim, head of the Beit Aryeh-Ofarim community, said, according to Ynetnews.

“Amona is a Jewish community in Israel, and if we give it up, we’re giving up on a lot of homes,” he stated.

Of particular concern for many of the demonstrators is the potential precedent that would follow Amona’s demolition. Like Amona, some 4000 additional homes throughout Judea and Samaria have yet to receive official approval from Israel’s Civil Administration, which administers the legalization process for homes in Judea and Samaria. Future Palestinian claimants of property could theoretically jeopardize the status of such homes as well.

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“At every stage of expulsion and destruction, naive Jews thought that it would be the last expulsion,” said Daniella Weiss, director of the Nachala Settlement Movement, according to Israel Hayom. “We will stop here and now.”

The proposed Regulation Law provided a solution for the residents of Amona and the 4,000 other homes in Judea and Samaria, by granting them legal status. However, Amona was removed from the most recent version of the bill due to the concerns of some coalition members that the legalization of Amona would undermine the authority of Israel’s High Court of Justice.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett suggested an alternative solution for Amona’s residents during a meeting on Monday with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, which would entail the relocation of Amona’s residents to a larger and undisputed plot of land on an adjacent hill.

Amona’s residents will decide imminently whether or not to accept the new proposal.