Evacuating Amona

Violence will further divide the Israeli people.

December 11, 2016 20:44
3 minute read.

‘THERE WILL be war over Amona,’ the graffiti reads at the outpost in the Binyamin region of Samaria in the West Bank. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

If the 40 families presently living on Amona continue to reject compromise, there is good reason to believe that the forced evacuation – if and when it comes – will be violent.

Large swaths of the religious-Zionist public continue to believe that the evacuation of the Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005 could have been prevented if only demonstrators had fought more tenaciously. The problem in Gush Katif, they claim, was that moderate-minded rabbis took control of the masses and prevented them from using violence to oppose the evacuation.

The frustration over the Gush Katif evacuation was one of the factors that fed into to the more escalated violence that was exhibited when Amona was first evacuated six months later, in February 2006.

This time around, many young activists are vowing to prevent another Amona evacuation. Religious high schools and hesder yeshivot that receive state funding are openly calling to show contempt for a High Court decision by proudly sporting posters claiming “Amona will not fall again.”

Ariel, a youth group that considers itself more religiously conservative than Bnei Akiva, has called on its young members to come to Amona to oppose the evacuation.

Leading religious-Zionist rabbis such as Dov Lior, Shmuel Eliyahu, Elyakim Levanon, Shlomo Aviner, Haim Druckman, David Stav, Nahum Rabinowitz and Yaakov Ariel have also called on the faithful to come to Amona to prevent the evacuation.

Though none of the rabbis has condoned violence, the very fact that they are calling for thousands of young men and women to converge on Amona ahead of the planned evacuation creates a situation in which violence will be highly likely.

There are voices of reason that can be heard on the Right. For instance, MK Yehudah Glick (Likud) used his Facebook page to try to dissuade young activists from coming to Amona.

“The [social] network is overflowing with calls to come to Amona to try to prevent the evacuation,” Glick wrote. “I beg you not to go! Don’t listen to them! Nothing good will come of it! There is no chance of stopping the evacuation and it’s also not right to do it.”

But it seems these voices are the minority.

While we understand the desire of the residents of Amona and their many supporters to make a political statement against the evacuation, using violent force to prevent the government from carrying out a High Court decision endangers Israel’s democracy.

Assuming the demonstrators who barricade themselves inside homes in Amona manage to prevent police and soldiers from carrying out the evacuation – which they won’t – their only victory will be the further undermining of the legitimacy of the High Court.

The High Court is meant to protect the basic human rights of minorities both inside the Green Line and in the West Bank. Because Israel has no constitution, the court often plays a role in preventing situations in which the tyranny of the majority tramples more universal values such as the property rights of individuals who have no clear legal standing in the eyes of the State of Israel. By preventing implementation of the High Court’s decision via violent means, the activists for Amona will be eliminating any checks on the will of the right-wing majority in Israel, which has dominated politics since 2009.

Violence will also further divide the Israeli people.

It will exacerbate an already polarized society where Right, Left, religious and secular find themselves at odds and growing apart.

The ideal solution is for the residents of Amona to willingly accept a compromise that enables the High Court decision on evacuation to be implemented peacefully. Alternative housing and compensation for Amona’s residents would be provided in exchange for a promise to evacuate without violence.

Nothing good will come of a violent confrontation between settlers and security forces. The rule of law should prevail. Jewish unity should be protected. The independence of the High Court must be upheld.

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