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January 21, 2017 / 23 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Expulsion’

When A Jerusalem Neighborhood Was A Transit Camp

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

There was a time, decades ago, when Jewish immigrants to Israel were housed in hastily built huts – somewhat similar to those in which Bedouin families begin their communities out in the desert and hilly areas of the Judean and Negev desert areas today.

That was true even in the holy city of Jerusalem, where Jews from Egypt found themselves living in a transit camp upon their immigration to Israel shortly after the birth of the state.

Author and Rabbi Haim Sabato tells the story of that time in a book he wrote – the fifth book he has authored, in fact – which talks about the difficulties he and his family experienced during their immigration to Israel from Egypt.

In the book Rabbi Sabato writes about life in the transit camp where he and his family was housed, which eventually became the picturesque Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel.

By 1950, nearly 40 percent of Egypt’s Jewish population of nearly 80,000 had headed north across the border to the new Jewish state, a prescient move that saved them from the experience of the friends and family they left behind. The Egyptian government expelled its Jewish population and seized their property in the late 1950s. Today the Jewish population in Egypt numbers fewer than a few dozen.

Hana Levi Julian

Growing Resistance to Evacuating Jews From Their Homes

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Resistance to participating in the upcoming evacuation of some 300 Jews from their homes in Amona is growing among Israeli soldiers and Border Guard Police officers.

On Saturday night, a dozen elite soldiers from a top IDF unit decided to risk the military penalties of going AWOL (absent without leave) rather than force themselves to follow order they considered to be a moral crime.

The soldiers, who were from the Givati Brigade, collected their personal gear after the end of the Sabbath, left their weapons behind and set out for the bus station from their army base.

A second before boarding at the station, their regiment commander arrived, apparently after having been warned of their disappearance. After a short discussion on site, the 12 soldiers hiked back together with their commander to the base on foot, where discussions continued from that point on.

“We just cannot take part in a mission to evacuate Jews from their own homes,” the soldiers had told their families, according to a report posted on the Hebrew-language military 0404 website.

This particular unit is, according to the site, one that only one year ago, was among the top of all Givati fighters, and which had eliminated countless deadly Palestinian Authority terrorists in the greater Hebron area.

Last week there were several reports of police and soldiers from various other units who were photographed without their faces showing, holding hand-written signs that read, “Don’t make me evict a Jew from his home.”

The Supreme Court, which ordered the demolition of Amona by December 25, has so far been unwilling to grant a delay in the proceedings despite several requests by attorneys for the State for a postponement in order find and/or build new homes for the residents elsewhere.

In February 2006, it took seven hours and nearly 3,000 Yassam special ops forces and various other police forces to evacuate residents and protesters from nine homes and partly completed structures, all located in two short rows located close together in a new neighborhood that was under construction in Amona. During that period, 216 people were injured, some of them critically, most of them civilians.

The community of Amona today is comprised of 40 homes, not including the synagogue and so forth, with completed buildings scattered all over an entire hilltop. In between, there are also new, hastily-built particle-board and other temporary-type structures that have been put together quickly by volunteers to house the hundreds of volunteers who are streaming in to help residents resist the evacuation.

Fewer than 10,000 Jewish Israeli citizens were expelled from Gush Katif in Gaza and four northern Samaria communities in August 2005 and to this day, some people have never received full compensation for the homes and businesses that they lost. Some still live in the “caravillas” to which they were forced to relocate when they were dragged out of their homes in the Disengagement from Gaza under the administration of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, now deceased.

Although there was no real violence, that experience resulted in numerous suicides, divorces, permanent mental health problems, broken homes, and teens at risk. No housing solutions for the expelled communities were made available for years; a mistake the residents of Amona say they don’t intend to repeat.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Reminds Amona in Letter: Israel is a Nation That Lives by the Rule of Law

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the residents of Amona and protesters who are gathering to stand with them in solidarity against eviction from their homes, to avoid violence, in an open letter posted Friday.

The prime minister also reminded the residents in the letter that he had ordered the government this past week to speed up demolition of illegal construction in the Arab sector. In addition, he urged parents not to allow their children and teens to be present at what promises at the very least to be a painful and chaotic protest.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu / screen capture

“Dear Residents of Amona,

“My heart is with you.

“We are living in a difficult time – for you, your families and for the entire people of Israel.

“The government is committed to the settlements of Judea and Samaria. We are more committed to this than any other government in the history of the State. As such, the minister’s of the government are making every possible effort – every effort – to find a solution that would allow the settlers to remain in place.

“We have dedicated days and nights to this – dozens of discussions – we have come up creative solutions, but sadly, these suggestions have not been accepted.

“One thing must be made clear. The State of Israel is a state that abides by the rule of law. The Court’s ruling binds us all, including those of us in the Israeli government.

“However, the law must also be equal. The same law that necessitates the evacuation of Amona also necessitates the evacuation of illegal building in other areas of our country.

“For this reason I ordered the demolition of illegal building in the Negev, Wadi Ara, the Galilee, the Central region – all over the country, which we will do in the coming days.

“I will not tolerate discrimination in the enforcement of building regulations between Israeli Jewish citizens and Israeli Arab citizens, between one person and the next.

“I will fight so that Israel will have one law for everyone, and one path to enforce it for everyone; something that has not been the case for several decades.

“I also turn to the beloved parents in Amona: Your protest is understandable, but it is no place for the presence of young boys and girls, nor for teenagers.

“I call on all leaders to show national responsibility during this time. The unity of Israel is one of our highest principles and it is the source of our strength. We are one people. We are brothers.”

Hana Levi Julian

State Attorneys to Request 1-Month Delay on Amona Evacuation

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Attorneys for the state are expected to appeal to the High Court of Justice on Sunday, asking once more for a one month delay in the evacuation of families from their homes in the Jewish community of Amona, Israel Radio reported Friday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the delay is necessary to prepare temporary housing solutions for some of the 300 residents whose homes are to be demolished.

As it stands right now, the residents are slated to be expelled from their homes on December 25, if not before.

In 2006, residents and surrounding Israelis who stood in solidarity together with their neighbors fought against the evacuation when fewer than a dozen homes and structures were forcibly demolished in the same community. That expulsion swiftly became the most viciously conducted operation against Jews ever carried out by Israeli government forces in the history of the state. Both protesters and police were badly injured, with security horses used to trample some of those who were resisting evacuation, and batons used to batter and beat others. A number of people were permanently disabled; others were deeply traumatized.

The violence that took place was such that lawmakers and locals have never forgotten; the memory of “Amona” is seared into the consciousness of every Israeli who lives in Judea and Samaria.

Pro-“settler” Jewish Home party chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett has asked residents not to resist forces who come to evacuate them from their homes when the time comes.

But a growing number of IDF and Border Guard Police forces are also asking not to be involved in the evacuation process when the time comes to take Jewish residents from their homes.

The Hebrew-language 0404 website featured another handwritten letter alleged to be from one of the units Saturday evening, requesting not to be ordered to participate in the expulsion of Amona.

According to a report broadcast Saturday night by Channel 2 television news, each family evacuated from the community will receive financial compensation of approximately NIS 500,000 ($130,000), depending on the estimated value of their property.

The expulsion is due to an order by the Supreme Court, which in 2014 decided in favor of a petition by leftist groups working together with the Palestinian Authority, who claimed a portion of the community was built on privately-owned land that belonged to individual PA citizens.

Hana Levi Julian

Yesh Atid Calls to Dissolve Israel’s Parliament

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

The opposition Yesh Atid party initiated a no-confidence gesture Sunday, calling for dissolution of Israel’s parliament and new elections to be held.

Led by Yair Lapid, the centrist-left party plans to present a bill to dissolve the Knesset on Wednesday. If it passes, elections would be held 90 days from the third reading of the bill.

The move comes after an opinion poll, if you can trust the polls, showed Yesh Atid running neck-and-neck with the leading Likud party, bolstering the centrist party’s confidence.

The Likud’s drop in popularity is due in part to deep divisions over how to deal with the dilemma presented by the community of Amona, where a very small part of the land on which it sits might be privately owned.

For that reason, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled in favor of a petition to destroy the entire town, evicting more than 200 men, women and children from their homes of more than a decade.

Yesh Atid pounced on the opportunity to demonize Likud over its internal divisions and its conflicts within the government coalition as it wrestles with solutions over the issue.

“The citizens of Israel deserve more,” proclaimed a news release from the Yesh Atid central office.

“The government of Israel is entirely self-involved with its own political rifts and with anything but what is important to the citizens of Israel… There have been no substantive discussions in any government body over where the country is heading: Not in the economic, social, diplomatic or security realms,” the party claimed.

Hana Levi Julian

PM Netanyahu Seeking 30-Day Amona Expulsion Delay

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the state will ask the High Court of Justice to delay the expulsion of Amona residents from their homes by 30 days.

The request will be based on the need to build new homes for the expelled residents, so the Amona evacuation does not end up becoming a repeat of the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.

The prime minister said in his opening remarks to the cabinet Sunday morning, “We are working overtime to find a responsible solution to the issue of Amona and for similar cases in the future.”

Netanyahu met with a forum of coalition party leaders on Sunday afternoon to discuss the issue.

At that meeting, it was also decided to postpone the first Knesset plenum reading of the Regulation Bill. The measure would retroactively legalized communities built on privately-owned land, reimbursing the owners in the process.

The proposed law faces a number of problems, among them legal issues in the international forum that Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said he cannot counter. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has also stated his refusal to support the bill in its current form.

The Bayit Yehudi party led by Naftali Bennett is warning, however, that it will leave the coalition if the issue of Amona is not resolved before the bill is passed. Both issues must be addressed, Bennett has said, for the party to remain in the government.

Hana Levi Julian

State Asks for 7-Month Delay in Destruction of Amona

Monday, October 31st, 2016

The state has asked the High Court of Justice to delay the destruction of the Jewish community of Amona by seven months.

At present, the community is set to be demolished by the end of this year. A ministerial committee for legislation was set to vote this week on a bill that would have officially recognized Amona and other similar communities but the vote was delayed by a week.

A bill dubbed the ‘Arrangement Law,’ was introduced by MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli of the Bayit Yehudi party. It proposes that homes built using government support should not be demolished if the claimants are able to show prior ownership. Instead, the land of the community in question would be confiscated by the state. The claimants would receive fair market value and the burden of proof would be moved to the Palestinian Authority claimants, away from the Jewish residents.

Representatives for the state said in their petition the delay is necessary in order to prepare a solution for the residents who are losing their homes.

One of the alternative placements where the residents may end up is in the Jewish community of Shvut Rachel, according to the court papers. The other site is not far from the community’s current location.

The attorneys for the state underlined in their petition that the state is not seeking the delay in order to keep Amona in its current location. Rather, the state is working on finding a solution that will allow for a “peaceful” evacuation, and to reduce tensions that have already skyrocketed over the issue.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-asks-for-7-month-delay-in-destruction-of-amona/2016/10/31/

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