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