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January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘residents’

This Just In: Amona Capitulates Before the Court

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

UPDATE: Amona residents filed a new commitment to the High Court, beating the deadline clock by one hour: “Will leave unconditionally” come February 8, which is the date of the extension the Netanyahu government has asked the court for.


A panel of three Supreme Court justices on Thursday morning rejected a statement from the residents of Amona, a Jewish community in Samaria which is slated for eviction and demolition Dec. 25, that, should the court grant them a 45 day extension, they would leave peacefully.

The court noted that the Jews of Amona did not offer an unconditional acceptance of the court’s demand for a guarantee of peaceful eviction, but instead conditioned it on the state’s living up to its promise to provide the residents with proper lodging in a nearby area.

In what has become a war of wills between the court and 40 Jewish families, including 200 children, the three justices, Miriam Naor, Esther Hayut, and Hanan Meltzer, informed the Amona community that they are giving them ex gratia another chance to offer their unconditional statement using the prescribed language.

The community has until 5 PM Thursday to capitulate to this blackmail note from the three justices.

David Israel

Outraged Amona Residents Reject Supreme Court Demand for Pledge of Eviction

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Amona residents on Thursday decided to reject a demand from the Supreme Court that they each sign a personal pledge to leave their homes peacefully in 45 days, regardless of whether or not the state had been able to create for them proper alternative housing nearby. The court expected those personal signatures by 10 AM Thursday local time.

The court responded to an appeal by the State Attorney, on behalf of the Netanyahu government and the AG, to extend the deadline for the demolition of Amona by 45 days. “In order to remove all doubt, all the respondents who are residents of Amona are requested to declare sincerely that they are unanimously committed to leave peacefully without altercation or resistance on the date the court would decide,” the justices demanded.

Insisting they must have the Amona residents’ signatures by Thursday morning, the justices also noted that their move does not necessarily mean they would ultimately grant the extension.

The residents, incensed over the court’s demand for individual commitments in writing, which would obviously open each adult member of the community to personal prosecution, based on the judgment of law enforcement personnel over just how well they complied with their promise to the highest legal authority in the land, told the court it should accept instead a group letter from the residents, stating their endorsement of an agreement they had signed with the state.

Several Amona residents accused the court of blackmailing them, since a refusal to comply with the court’s demand could leave them and their children homeless. One resident told Walla the court’s demand constituted a “grave harm to our right to dignity and to elementary living conditions. This to remedy a “miniscule damage, if at all, caused to the rights of claimants who have never worked the relevant plots and are mostly absentee landlords who in reality are not even present in the area.”

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

Amona Residents to Netanyahu: Our Fate Is in your Hands

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

An emergency meeting of the Amona community residents following the Supreme Court’s ruling rejecting government’s petition to postpone the Dec. 25 demolition, called on Prime Minister Netanyahu to save the day. Avihay Boaron, Chairman of the community’s struggle committee, delivered a direct message to Prime Minister Netanyahu, saying, “If, God forbid, you will not manage an arrangement of the homes of Amona’s residents and the lives of our children, we will stand as a fortified wall together with thousands who will arrive here from across the country on that day, when we move to a tent city we will erect in the coming days, to do all we can so that Amona will not fall a second time.”

Avihay Boaron, an attorney, told Netanyahu, whose Likud party received an estimated 4 to 5 out of its 30 Knesset seats from Judea and Samaria voters: “You are the commander-in-chief and you will decide the fate of Amona. We heard you saying today that you are attentive to our distress. We’re not looking for sympathy, we demand action, not talk. The only way to take care of us is to let us stay home.” He added: “The responsibility rests with you and your government ministers.”

Tamar Nizri, one of the founders of Amona, told the Prime Minister: “You once said that you are the captain of our ship. You are the captain of our state and we believe in you, and we need you to navigate us. We need you to help us stay here and go on preparing dinner for our children and raise them and rejoice with them and go on living in this community.”

“We came here 18 years ago, a young couple with a baby girl,” Nizri continued. “She just got married a month and a half ago and lives with her husband here, in Amona… I’m telling you as one of the mothers here, we want to keep raising our children, get them married, watch our grandchildren here, climbing the trees that are yet to grow, and it’s in your hands.”

Nizri then called on Netanyahu to support the Arrangements Act, to permit her and her family to stay in their community, and “be a leader who creates a new reality.”

JNi.Media

Likud MKS Meet With Amona, Ofra Residents to Protest Court-Ordered Demolition of Homes

Monday, September 12th, 2016

by Ilana Messika Likud MKs Yehuda Glick, Yoav Kish, Oren Hazan and Amir Ohana, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotolevy and Judea and Samaria Council Head Avi Roeh all hosted an emergency meeting with residents of Amona and Ofra on Monday (Sept. 12, 2016) to protest the scheduled demolition of their homes.

Amona, a neighborhood on a hill overlooking Ofra, is located in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council district and is home to about 40 families. In December 2014 the High Court of Justice ruled the community was built on private Palestinian Authority property and ordered the residents to evacuate by the end of 2016.

The meeting follows the government’s approval of a Civil Administration plan to transfer Amona residents to a 1600-dunam (395-acre) site about 20 kilometers northeast of the current location, east of the Jewish town of Shiloh. Residents have slammed the decision as a government sellout.

“Defense Minister [Avigdor] Liberman has raised the white flag of surrender to extreme left organizations and the Palestinian Authority, both of whom abuse the Israeli legal system to bring about the destruction of settlements in Judea and Samaria,” said one participant at the meeting. “We call on Liberman, the prime minister and the other coalition parties to prevent the eviction.”

Hemdat Shani, a resident of Ofra, told Tazpit Press Service (TPS) “This ruling of the the High Court of Justice discriminates badly against Judea and Samaria. This is the only place in Israel where a Jewish community could receive a court order like this without verification of the ownership of the land.

“[It is ironic because] Judea and Samaria actually possess the strongest link to the Jewish ancestral homeland,” she stated.

The Likud Party has been in turmoil since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman said in recent months that they intend to obey the Court’s ruling.

“The time has come for the prime minister to understand that people who choose to live in Judea and Samaria do so out of a sincere belief that it is our right… The story of Amona is not only about Amona, but about the whole of Israeli history,” said MK Oren Hazan.

Demolition orders also threaten several more Jewish communities around Judea and Samaria. Last week, the High Court of Justice ruled that 17 unauthorized homes in the Netiv Avot outpost in Gush Etzion must be dismantled by March 2018, and last week security forces evicted people from their homes at the Esh Kodesh outpost in Samaria and from the Mitzpe Avichai outpost near Hebron on Tuesday.

“This decision to remove us from our land is unjust, anti-Zionist, and it cannot happen that a right-wing Likud government should be the one to see it done,” said Hemdat Shani.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

AG Recommends Evacuating Amona, Residents Hoping for Political Rescue

Monday, August 8th, 2016

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said on Sunday that there is no legal obstacle barring a review of the status of lands adjacent to the community of Amona in Benjamin regional council, to start a discussion of potentially moving there the residents of the community which has been slated for demolition by the end of the year by the supreme court. Mandelblit spoke at a discussion with government officials of regulating the status of Amona.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that the Amona community is illegal under Israeli law, based on petitions of presumed original Arab owners of the land who had been rounded up by anti-Zionist groups like Peace Now and Yesh Din. Since then, the court has ruled again on the Amona case, ordering that the Jewish residents must be evacuated, the housing and infrastructure destroyed and the area be handed to the Arabs.

According to the Amona residents, when the community was founded in 1995 it was by a state initiative, promoted by then housing minister Natan Sharansky, who invested millions of dollars in creating an infrastructure, paving roads and promoting construction, all of it under the auspices of the state. If there were irregularities with the land purchase, it was the state’s problem, not theirs. Had they known the land was privately owned they would have stayed away, but they were told by the state to move in — let the state deal with the alleged original owners.

It should be noted that when Mandelblit was being considered for the AG appointment, he was favored by the right for his idea that in just these kinds of cases, with anti-Jewish settlement activists signing up claimants against existing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the claimants prove ownership (which is not so hard to do considering the land registration archives are kept in Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian Authority) — said claimants be compelled to accept fair market value for the property, or comparable property. Mind you, this is after some Arab real estate agent had received full pay for the same land.

Now, despite his wise recommendation on grandfathering existing Jewish communities, the AG is obviously feeling that he can’t go to battle against a clear Supreme Court ruling to demolish Amona, and so he recommends finding an alternative land not for the alleged Arab owners, but for the very real Jewish residents instead.

Amona was the site of one of the most brutal attacks of Israeli government forces on Jewish residents in the state’s history. On February 1, 2006, Amona Jewish residents and protesters were evacuated by 10,000 Israeli Police, Border Police, and Army troops. The estimated 4,000 Jews on the Amona grounds mostly consisted of youths from nearby communities. More than 300 were injured, including some 80 security personnel. Among the injured were three Knesset members. After several hours, the Amona homes had been demolished. A few girls that were evacuated accused police officers of sexual assault.

In March 2006, the Knesset parliamentary inquiry into the events at Amona determined that security forces had employed brutal force, striking protesters with clubs and charging them with horses. Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra was criticized for preventing police commanders from testifying at committee hearings. The committee also found contradictions between the testimonies of the Army Chief of Staff and the Internal Security Minister.

Today, none of the coalition parties wants to position itself behind a similar evacuation effort, a move which could kill their political aspirations among their rightwing voters. Likud, Habayit Hayehudi and Yisrael Beiteinu officials have stated recently that this government will not permit the destruction of Amona. When the brutal evacuation took place in 2006, it was carried out by the same government that had evacuated Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005, yet another traumatic event in recent Israeli history. That government was ruled by the Kadima party, a political albatross invented by soon-to-go-comatose Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, which has since disappeared from the political map, and serves as a warning to all Israeli rightwing parties wishing to err leftward.

With that in mind, it can be expected that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Liberman and Justice Minister Shaked come up with a solution that keeps the Jewish settlers in place, risking the ire of the high court, as well as of Israel’s many friends in the free world. It should provide for great political theater, as these three politicians will show their ability to both capitulate and gravel while proudly standing erect. It’s time to call in the chiropractors.

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ag-recommends-evacuating-amona-residents-hoping-for-political-rescue/2016/08/08/

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