The Amona outpost in the West Bank.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Right-wing politicians threatened to go against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the pending demolition of the Amona outpost in the West Bank.
“Just as we went against [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon, so we won’t hesitate to act against Netanyahu. But I hope it won’t come to that,” Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) said on Wednesday.
Katz spoke in a protest tent for the campaign to save Amona erected outside the prime minster’s office. He compared the efforts of right-wing politicians to save the outpost of some 40 families with the actions of political opponents of the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza.
“To evacuate Amona would be go against the government’s policies,” Katz said.
“We have an obligation to resolve the issue and to ensure that the community can continue to stay there,” Katz said.
The families who built Amona did so on behalf of their country and should now not be forced to be pay a price for their patriotism because of the complex legal circumstances in which the outpost finds itself, Katz said.
Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) noted that past efforts, including failed attempts to pass legislation had not averted the demolition of the Migron outpost or the destruction of 30 homes in the Ulpana outpost in 2012.
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“We must use all the tools at our disposal to legalize Amona,” Elkin said.
Both Katz and Elkin, who are members of Netanyahu’s Likud party, are also active in the campaign to annex the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement.
“Amona can’t fall again,” the campaign to save the outpost stated in a message it sent to the media, in reference to the IDF demolition of nine permanent homes in their community in 2006.
The homes were razed in response to a ruling by the High Court of Justice. The court has now ordered the demolition of the entire outpost, because the community of some 40 families was built without permits on land which belongs to private Palestinians.
The HCJ issued its ruling in response to a petition by the NGO Yesh Din, which represents 10 families from the nearby village of Silwad, who claim ownership of the land, which is located on the outskirts of the Ofra settlement.
The outpost was built in 1995 with NIS 2.16 million from the Construction Ministry. Amona residents have argued that the government has a responsibility to find a legal solution for them to remain in their homes, since it gave them initial approvals for the projects, which were never finalized.
The campaign to save Amona called on the government to stop bowing to pressure from the Left. It warned that thousands of other homes in Judea and Samaria had the same risky legal status as theirs.
Destroying Amona, the campaign warned, would only embolden the Left to continue to legally pursue the demolition of other settler homes.
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