Givat Nili, December 23rd, 2016



 

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AMONA: The Beginning ---- AMONA: The End



 

With the agreement by the Supreme Court to grant a (final) extension for the evacuation of Amona settlers, a long and mindboggling story will hopefully fade into the background and come to an end.

But what will the average Israeli take with him from this story? What is the man in the street going to think? Is there any chance of a consensus on this issue which has occupied headlines for so long? Or aren’t we going to be bothered by consensus and just wish this thing to go away already.

Depending on world view or political inclination, the storyline of Amona may vary greatly.

There is the supporter of the settlement enterprise.  He will be able to conclude that the story of Amona is the beginning. The beginning of new arrangements for the settlements in the West Bank, legalization of those that were not legal before and expansion for all of them. Amona was the price that had to be paid to finally take the issue of illegal settlements of the table and from now on there will be no more evacuations.

A settlement supporter with a less optimistic outlook on life, will experience the story of Amona as the end. The end of illegal settlements, removal of settlers from all Palestinian lands, and if worst comes to worst, the creation of a Palestinian entity of Jewish ancestral lands.  

 

Anyone opposed to the settlement activity of Israel in occupied Palestinian lands may also come to the conclusion that the story of Amona is the beginning. The beginning of coming to its senses of a country that for too long has ignored basic rights of another people and the beginning of activity that will lead to arrangements with this people and will allow some settlements to remain and others to be removed.

Chances are that there are among those opponents to the settlements that see the story of Amona as the end. The end of the rule of democratic values in our country, the end of the rule of law and the end of the judiciary as one of the pillars of that democracy.

And the real naïve ones may see the Amona events as the beginning of the end. The first step in a process whereby illegal behavior of State and settler alike will be placed under control and rule of law will return to be the guiding line of Israel and its government.

 

Left wing politicians, right wing politicians ministers, settlement leaders, left wing legal activists, right wing legal activists, journalists (are they also left or right wing?) and anybody who thought he had something to say about it and found a way to get heard, they all expressed views, opinions, thoughts, feelings, wishes and not a few of them used the ignorance of most of us to further their own agendas, no matter the facts.

 

But, in the end, the facts are the only things that matter. Of course that is true for any controversy, but the Amona events even more so, simply because so much effort was put in distorting the facts, hiding the facts and simply denying the facts.

 

But there are really only two relevant facts related to the Amona events:

1.       Amona was founded in 1995 by youngsters who moved onto land that is owned by Palestinians. They may have known or not known, this is irrelevant. The State of Israel did know.  In most civil countries this is called theft.

2.       The case of Amona has been before the Israeli courts numerous times and the results have always been the same: Amona is illegal under both Israeli law and International law and must be evacuated.

 

After this, all the rest is speculation, foot dragging, political meandering, rumor spreading, incitement, legal hairsplitting and even (and mostly), simple lying.

 

If you admit to yourself that the two simple undisputable facts above are to be your guidelines to form an opinion on the story of Amona, you MUST come to the conclusion that Amona indeed needs to be evacuated. Any other path will only bring the fear mongering of both sides closer to reality. From loss of democratic values to destruction of the settlement enterprise.

All this does not mean that after Israel finally does what needs to be done (and to be honest, I will believe it when I see it), after Rule of Law and democratic values are (finally) upheld, Israel has no options left to further its goals. It just means that Israel should strive to reach its goals, (or the best possible compromise) by means that do not put the foundations of the State at risk.

I doubt though that Netanyahu, Ariel, Smotrich etc. are the right people for the job.  But I would love to be surprised.

 

Jan van Mil


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