Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
The expulsion of part of Amona, 2006

A vote by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has delayed by a week a decision on a bill to officially recognize the Jewish community of Amona and other similar communities.

The measure was to have prevented the expulsion of residents of Amona from their homes by the end of this year, as ordered by the High Court of Justice. The community, founded in 1995, is comprised of approximately 40 families.

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Although the High Court has ordered its destruction on the basis of a lawsuit that contends it is built on “private” Palestinian Authority land, to this day not one “private” citizen of the Palestinian Authority has come forward to document that claim. A group of PA residents allegedly represented by the leftist Israeli Yesh Din NGO filed a petition in 2008, claiming Amona was encroaching on the group’s land and demanding its demolition.

There are still no replacement homes and community for the families, as also happened to more than 8,000 Jewish residents of the Gush Katif region and northern Samaria, who were forced out of their homes in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has asked lawmakers not to approve such a bill, however, saying it is unconstitutional. Government ministers decided to delay their decision after a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and coalition leaders.

The committee was to have voted Sunday on the measure. The law was proposed by Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli, whose party has threatened to leave the coalition if the bill to save Amona is not passed.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.