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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘residents’

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

How Jerusalem’s Arabs Act Against Their Own Interests

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in the municipal elections next week, tens of thousands of eligible Arab voters in Jerusalem will once again boycott the democratic process.

In the past few days, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], Hamas and several other Palestinian organizations have called on the Arab residents of Jerusalem to stay away from the ballot boxes.

These organizations maintain that Arab participation in the municipal election would be interpreted as recognition of Israel’s decision to annex the eastern part of the city in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

As such, the vast majority of the Arab residents have since been boycotting the local election, mainly out of fear of being dubbed “traitors” by various Palestinian organizations.

But if anyone stands to lose from the boycott it is the Arabs themselves.

First, the boycott has done nothing to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Some would even argue that Israeli dominion over the city has never been as strong as it is these days, especially in wake of the Arab residents’ failure to take part in crucial decisions concerning their neighborhoods and villages.

Second, the boycott has severely harmed the interests of the Arab residents, who have been denied the chance to have representatives in the municipal council who would fight for better services and the improvement of their living conditions. The Arabs make up 25-30% of the city’s eligible voters, which means that they could have 7-8 representatives in the 31-seat municipal council. The boycott has denied the Arabs the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning of their neighborhoods.

While it is true that some Arabs boycott the municipal elections for ideological reasons, there is no denying the fact that many are also afraid of being targeted by extremists if they present their candidacy or go to the ballot boxes.

A few Arabs who in the past dared to challenge the boycott have faced death threats. One of them was newspaper publisher Hanna Siniora, who back in 1987 announced his intention to run in the municipal election. Siniora’s car was torched by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a move that forced him to retract his candidacy.

Eleven years later, another Arab, Mussa Alayan, defied the boycott by running at the head of an independent list. He received fewer than 3,000 votes and did not make it to the city council. Alayan could have probably become the first Arab council member had he and his supporters not faced a brutal and violent campaign by Palestinian activists.

Yet while Arab residents are boycotting the election, most of them continue to deal with the same municipality which they are not supposed to recognize. They even continue to pay taxes and fees to the municipality.

The Jerusalem Municipality has more than 1,500 Arab employees, and its various departments continue to provide many services to the Arab neighborhoods and villages in the city. These activities are taking place despite the Arab boycott that has been in effect since 1967.

Arabs who complain about lack of municipal services often seek the help of representatives of left-wing parties in the municipal council, such as Meretz.

Today, many Arabs in Jerusalem are not afraid to declare openly that they prefer to live under Israeli rule, and not under that of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The problem remains, however, that the overwhelming majority is still afraid of the radicals.

What is needed is a strong Arab leadership that would not hesitate to stand up to the radicals and question their goals. Such a leadership would have to make it clear that there should be a complete separation between the political issues and the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem’s Arab population.

Until such leaders emerge, the Arabs in Jerusalem will, by boycotting the municipal elections, unfortunately continue to act against their own interests.

Khaled Abu Toameh

Fire Destroys Bunkhouse at NY Camp for Kids with Cancer

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

A fire at Camp Simcha, a camp  for children with cancer, destroyed one bunkhouse and damaged a newly built one.

The fire was discovered when a counselor at the camp in Glen Spey, N.Y., woke up early Saturday morning and smelled smoke. The counselors evacuated the 15 residents of the cabin, including one camper in a wheelchair, VIN News reported.

The entire camp then was evacuated to a helicopter landing field near the camp. Several people were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighters believe the cause of the fire is electrical, VIN reported.

Donors to Chai Lifeline, the organization that sponsors the camp, are sponsoring a visit to a local shopping mall to help the campers in the destroyed bunk replace their personal items, according to the report.

The camp season ends Tuesday.

JTA

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fire-destroys-bunkhouse-at-ny-camp-for-kids-with-cancer/2013/08/20/

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