(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The evacuation of the Amona outpost will eventually lead to the application of Israeli sovereignty in the whole of the West Bank, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said at the Knesset on Wednesday.
“From the ruins of Amona we will build a new settlement,” Bennett, the education minister, told the plenum.
“From its ruins we will erect kindergartens all over Judea and Samaria.
From the defeat in the court we will establish a new legal regime that will regulate all of the settlements, and from this defeat we will start applying the sovereignty of the State of Israel all over Judea and Samaria.
Israeli forces begin evacuating Amona
“The ‘settlement [regulation] bill’ that will be passed next week will end the court-led system of displacement,” he continued.
The legislation that is to go to final votes on Monday night would retroactively legalize some 4,000 settler homes built on what the courts have ruled is private Palestinian property in Area C of the West Bank.
Bennett responded to accusations that his party deceived the settlers of Amona, and acknowledged that the struggle for Amona had little chance of success. “We started the campaign when we had a final peremptory Supreme Court verdict in front of us.
We came to Amona, looked in the eyes of the residents and told them that we know that this campaign is against all odds. But we did not give up. Unfortunately, our fight for Amona did not succeed,” he said. “We lost the battle, but we are winning the war.
“The residents of Amona are heroes,” the minister said. “For 20 years they were up there on the mountain, in harsh physical conditions – the storms of the winter and the heat of the summer, while facing security threats during intifadas,” he said of the Palestinian violence of the late 1980s and the early 2000s. “They did not do that for their own benefit but for the sake of the people and the land.”
Bennett reiterated the call to refrain from violence during the outpost’s evacuation. “No one should hurt anyone.
This includes everyone, from all sides,” he said.
He concluded by quoting popular Israeli song “Ein Li Eretz Acheret” by Ehud Manor: “I have no other country even if my land is burning.”
He added, “We have no other soldiers, no other policemen, no other IDF. Residents of Amona – the people is with you.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) also called on the residents of Amona to refrain from violence. “This is a difficult and sad day for the Israeli people. It is a day when law enforcement authorities are asked to execute the decision of the Supreme Court that orders the demolition of a settlement that the state helped build.
“I call on all people in the [Amona outpost] to let policemen and security personnel perform their duties.
I call on the MKs and public leaders to avoid statements that will fan the flames,’ Erdan said. “Those soldiers and policemen were sent by us, and we will not accept any violent moves.”
Oppositions MKs have also expressed sympathy for the evacuees and implored them to act according to the security forces’ orders.
“I understand the pain of the evacuated families, this is a hard day,” said opposition chairman Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union). “But I call on the settlers of Amona to honor the court ruling and not to exceed the limits of legitimate protest. The police are doing their duty and no one should attack them.”
Herzog also called on the security forces to act with restraint toward the residents and activists at Amona.
MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said, “Evacuating a person from his home is always hard and the pain of the families is understood – but a day on which the State of Israel is enforcing the law will never be ‘a black day for Zionism,’ as some claim.”