On Thursday morning, MK Shuli Mualem Refaeli, Chairwoman of the Habayit Hayehudi faction, told Israel’s FM103 that Prime Minister Netanyahu is dragging his feet regarding the coming evacuation of the Amona community in Samaria Dec. 25. While the official line, from both Netanyahu (Likud) and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) has been that the battle for Amona has been lost and the Supreme Court and Peace Now will inevitably have their way, MK Mualem insisted that “there is an agreed upon outline that could provide a solution, but the people in charge of promoting it ate dragging their feet and aren’t examining it at the needed pace and the right manner.”
In short, Mualem said, “We suspect the prime minister, when issuing the order to move on [with the dismantling of the community], didn’t pound his desk.”
Habayit Hayehudi will pound the desk on Sunday, apparently, when Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who chairs the ministerial legislative committee, is slated to propose Mualem Refaeli’s new bill legalizing the Amona homes. With 25 of Netanyahu’s 30 Likud Knesset members on record as supporting legalizing Amona — by compelling the Arab claimants on the land to accept market value compensation — the bill stands a very good chance of passing the ministerial committee and going to an initial vote in the plenum.
Of course, this is the last thing Netanyahu wants, because as soon as this bill becomes a law, the Miriam Naor Supreme Court will strike it down. Naor wants the destruction of Amona, not a compromise, much like the Obama Administration, which has been sending angry messages Netanyahu’s way even for the idea of resettling the Amona evacuees in nearby Shiloh.
Moalem-Refaeli wrote Netanyahu that she was prepared to pull the bill from Sunday’s agenda, and help avoid a coalition crisis, if the government declares that Amona was built on abandoned land, making it automatically state-owned. She warned him of the current attack on the entire settlement enterprise, as anti-Zionist NGOs such as Peace Now will move on to thousands more Jewish housing units in the liberated territories where they would dig up fabricated Arab land owners, with full support from the Ramallah land registrar.
Much like Netanyahu, Habayit Hayehudi party is also under attack from their own rightwing, as Amona residents and many in the settlement movement have been critical of its failure to save the condemned community. Former MK Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, took to the airwaves to praise Deputy Dfense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Habayit Hayehudi) who told Amona residents that should the bulldozers attack their homes, the Jewish Home would leave the government. At the same time, Ketzaleh attacked the party chairman, Naftali Bennett, who actually gets to decide if and when the party leaves government, for his failure to be as blunt as Ben-Dahan.
It remains to be seen which way Netanyahu will cleverly evade this crisis, and whether or not he is prepared to either arm wrestle the high court or put down a rightwing rebellion in his own party. His decision is likely to be less confrontational and, equally likely, less brave.JNi.Media