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January 20, 2017 / 22 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ofra’

Court Approves 45-Day Delay of Amona Evacuation

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

The High Court of Justice has approved a request by the State to delay by 45 days the evacuation of the Jewish community of Amona.

The homes of 40 families – some 300 Jews – are built on a section of the town which the Court has ruled is privately owned by a citizen of the Palestinian Authority.

The approval came Thursday after Amona residents declared in a written document that they would evacuate the site peacefully, without conditions, without conflict or resistance, on the new evacuation date, which is to be February 8.

By that time, it is expected that the homes of 24 of the 40 families in Amona will have been moved by the state to a new plot of land within the community’s municipal boundaries – Lot 38 – which will by then have been officially declared state land and zoned for residential use. The land is currently held under the law of Absentee Landowners’ / Abandoned Property.

The other 16 families will have moved to temporary dwellings in the nearby town of Ofra, northeast of Ramallah.

Hana Levi Julian

New Effort Overnight to Keep 24 Amona Families in their Homes

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Following a 9-hour meeting at the Prime Minister’s office overnight Sunday, which included a 4-hour discussion by PM Netanyahu and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett, a new outline was submitted to the Amona community for a consenting evacuation – one week before the high court’s mandated date, and after the community had voted against an earlier proposed outline. Amona is expected to vote on the new outline by noon Sunday.

The new outline, according to Walla, was agreed on by Chairman of the Amona resistance Avihay Boaron, Amona Chief Rabbi Yair Frank, and Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who has been involved in the negotiation efforts over the past two weeks. Boaron and Frank have already presented the newest outline to their fellow residents.

In addition to the new outline, 24, rather than 12 families originally, would be allowed to remain on lot 38 near Amona. Should the residents accept the proposed outline, the government would petition the court for an extra 30 days and work on lot 38 would start.

In addition to the new outline, the Netanyahu cabinet is expected to approve on Sunday morning an additional proposal to establish temporary housing in Ofra for the remaining Amona residents as well as nine Ofra families, and provide approximately $10.5 milion in monetary compensation to the evacuees. The Finance Ministry will provide $2.33 million for infrastructure and public buildings in the temporary section; and the Defense Ministry will add $1 million for renting lodging and public buildings for the interim period, until the new section is ready. Regional Council Mateh Binyamin will receive $3.88 million for “special expenses” in the interim period.

A meeting Saturday night of the Amona community and hundreds of activists who had arrived to help stop the Dec. 25 evacuation was dedicated to the locals’ commitment to avoid at all cost any violent interaction with security forces.

Meanwhile, IDF soldiers have been adamant in expressing their objection to being used to evict Jews from their homes. According to Walla, on Saturday night fighters of the Tzabar battalion of the Givati Brigade left their post in protest and then returned to their routine duties.

The IDF Spokesman’s office released a statement condemning disobedience in its ranks and reassuring soldiers and the public that the first wave of attack in the evacuation of Amona will consist of police.

David Israel

Report: Whole Arab Villages in Judea and Samaria Stand Empty as Residents Flee to US

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.

Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, “If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced.”

And yet, a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don’t live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.

According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel’s side of the “green line” through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be’er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.

Gibor, who describes those empty homes as “white elephants,” met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he’s been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they’ve only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.

Hamza Awada, 21, who lives with his parents in Arizona, met Gibor in Dir Dibwan, not far from Silwad. He is visiting to conclude a two-year wife search. It’s an arranged marriage, and after the wedding the happy couple will move to America. Hamza has lived in New York City and in Arizona, as well as in Jordan. “Life here in the village is quaint, but it’s not for me.”

Hamza describes himself as a Palestinian, not as an American, and he likes the sense of community in the village his parents had left in their youth. He’d even like to come back some day, maybe. But “life here is difficult,” he says. “It’s hard to find work, make a living and earn enough to support the lifestyle I’m used to abroad.” He plans to maintain the same ties to the old place his parents have kept: visit every few years. He speaks Arabic with his parents at home, but at school and elsewhere outside the home it’s all English.

According to Gibor, between 80 and 90 percent of Dir Dibwan’s residents have an American citizenship. One local resident, Muhammad Manasra, who splits his life between the village and California, estimates the population in the two neighboring villages at 16,000, most of them living abroad.

One of the most common methods used to obtain a US Visa is marrying an American citizen.

In many cases, Arab wives who discover the US lifestyle after having grown up in poverty in Judea and Samaria, refuse to go back. “My brother married a woman from the nearby village of Beitin,” Manasra relates. “There are many Palestinian-Americans there, too. He brought her to the US, arranged for a visa, and the minute she landed there her eyes opened, like she discovered a new world. He would work and she moseyed through the malls and spend money. They had two children, and when the elder was five, my brother wanted his wife and both children to go back to the village so the children learn Arabic and become familiar with Palestinian culture. His wife refused. It ended very badly. They divorced and today both live in the US separately. My brother’s house is sealed,” he says and points at the deserted villa.

Arab immigration from Judea and Samaria has been going on for decades. Official Palestinian Authority figures suggest there are three million Arabs living there. In reality, the figures are lighter by at least one million, according to many experts. Since 1997, Israel is no longer operating the census there, and the PA count does not abide by international norms, whereby a person who has been absent for a year or more from his country is no longer counted. Demographers Yaakov Feitelson and Yoram Ettinger suggest the figure of 1.8 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, as opposed to the PA claim of 2.9 million.

JNi.Media

Amona Residents Receive Full Relocation Outline, Will Vote

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The residents of Amona, which is slated for demolition by court order Dec. 25, last night received the final outline regarding their future location, care of Habayit Hayehudi. The full text, twitted by Channel 2 News’ Ofer Hadad, is a “dream package” in his opinion. However, Hadad notes in a separate tweet, the outline reveals the state’s sense of uncertainty about its ability to carry out the promised relocation on the same mountain, facing potential hurdles from the Supreme Court. On the other hand, Hadad points out, the choice is between an eviction in a few days without any promises, and this statement of intent to help from the coalition government.

The outline, which the Amona residents are expected to sign in short order, possibly on Wednesday, acknowledges that the court order will be carried out either on Dc. 25, or a month later, if the court will agree to a one-month extension.

The state will immediately provide 11 mobile homes on the 1.5 acre absentee landlord’s area 38, to be assigned to Mateh Binyamin regional council for construction.

In addition, the state will provide some 40 mobile homes in lots near Amona, in the same manner as area 38. The lots in question are abandoned lots 28, 29, 30, and 54. These will be appropriated by the state.

Over the next two years, the government will examine the possibility of a long-term settlement in the appropriated areas. The state will meanwhile appeal to Jerusalem magistrate court to excise claimed land plots from the abandoned ones, to form a legally contiguous area for settlement that will nor be vulnerable to future claims.

Should court delays not allow for the above plans to swing into motion, the state will prepare temporary housing solutions for the evacuees in nearby Ofra, at the foot of the Amona mountain.

JNi.Media

Israel Inspired: Amona: The Inside Story [audio]

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Interview with Manya Hillel, a resident of Amona, whose home and community is slated for destruction by Supreme Court order. Also, Anita Tucker a resident of the former communities of Gush Katif in Gaza, talks about what it’s like to be evicted by your own government. Ari and Jeremy discuss the spiritual implications of the impending demolition of an entire Jewish town and how we can fight it.

To support the brave pioneers of Amona please click on the link below: www.headstart.co.il/project.aspx?id…21436&lan=en-US

The Land of Israel

Emerging Amona Deal: Compensation for Arab Claimants, Regulations Act Preserved, Evacuation On

Monday, December 5th, 2016

A deal has been struck between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Nftali Bennett regarding the proposed Arrangements Act on Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, Walla reported Monday morning. The bill will be submitted for a preliminary vote by the Knesset plenum without a retroactive application to include Amona, a community in Samaria slated for demolition by the Supreme Court come December 25. In return for this concession on the part of the settlements movement, the government will defend the new law once it is approved in a third plenum vote, even if AG Avichai Mandelblit persists in his refusal to do it.

That part, about government insisting on defending a law against an appeal at the Supreme Court even when the AG (whose function also include being government’s legal counsel), is considered almost revolutionary by rightwing politicians, who view the AG and the individual legal counsels appointed to every government ministry as tyrannical extensions of the largely leftwing judicial civil service.

Last week, Mandelblit approved a short-term solution – moving the Amona residents to nearby vacant land which can be declared as belonging to absentee landlords and therefore may be appropriated by the state. The new deal requires finding proper relocation for all of the 42 families of Amona. To do that, the government intends to petition the Supreme Court once more for a postponement of the evictions, this time for 30 days – after the court has already denied its appeal for a 7-month postponement.

The new deal reportedly also includes a legal solution for the residents of the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood in Gush Etzion as well as nine homes in Ofra, next door to Amona, which the Supreme Court has also slated for demolition and eviction. The state will be obligated to assign them substitute lands and homes.

Some in the settlement enterprise have suggested that moving the Amona residents to newly obtained state land is still an improvement over the idea of removing them from the area altogether, because the Mountain will not be deserted of Jews, with Ofra and Amona II maintaining their Jewish presence there.

Should the new bill be submitted this week, possibly even on Monday, without the retroactive application to Amona, the Habayit Hayehudi politicians will be expected to prevent clashes between the residents and security forces.

JNi.Media

Not Trusted to Evict Jews? IDF Plans Relocating Haredi Troops from Amona Vicinity

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

As the security apparatus is completing plans to evacuate the Amona community in Samaria on December 25, by decree of the Supreme Court, NRG reported that the Haredi Nahal battalion Netzach Yehuda which has been posted in recent months downhill from Amona, in Ofra, has received orders to prepare to relocate to a different section – despite the fact that the battalion’s original date to relocate was, reportedly, on December 14.

Then, following leaks to the news media about the relocation, which probably means these religious soldiers are not trusted to carry out the relocation, the order to relocate was rescinded for the time being.

A source inside the battalion said, “We received an order over the weekend to prepare for an immediate relocation, but who knows if it’ll happen today or in three weeks. It was supposed to be kept secret, and now that it’s becoming public knowledge it puts commanding officers under pressure.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/not-trusted-to-evict-jews-idf-plans-relocating-haredi-troops-from-amona-vicinity/2016/12/04/

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