Yesterday I went to visit the hilltop town of Amona, which the government of Israel and the Supreme Court are fighting over right now. They can’t decide what to do with 40 families who’ve been living there for 15+ years, now that EU-sponsored NGO Yesh Adin has been agitating and saying that part of the town is on “private Palestinian land”.
We’re waiting to hear the exact terms of a deal that has been offered to the residents of Amona today. But they have a gun to their heads: accept the deal or their eviction begins at midnight.
I went to meet one of the residents, Eli, who runs their social media account: he’s the person I know purely by chance. He has a PhD in ancient languages and has done some real archeology on that hill. Today he works in high tech, when he’s not trying to stop bulldozers destroying his home.
It’s an easy one-hour drive from North Tel Aviv, though most Tel Aviv Israelis don’t realise that. You drive east on a big highway, zoom through one security checkpoint that marks the old green line, and carry on to the city of Ariel. Turn right just after that and join the ancient Route 60: the Way of the Patriarchs. The route is clearly described in the Bible as that taken by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Pass by Shiloh (the first capital of Israel for 300 years before Jerusalem), and 10 minutes later you come to Ofra and its satellite village of Amona.
As usual for the towns and villages in Judea and Samaria, it’s a desolate hilltop that nobody has set foot on for 3,000 years; certainly no Arab walked all the way up there between ’49 and ’67. Jews have industriously built a nice community, growing wine, raising sheep and even raspberries, and these monsters want to tear it down.
Eli took me to see an ancient wine press: carved stones, a giant storage cistern in the ground and various other parts. Jews were here before making wine, and they’ve returned to make wine again. Judaism is indigenous to these hills and it’s obvious.
We talked, and I described how I was self-taught about Islam. I said that the joy of the times we live in is that when your read something that interests you, it’s generally possible to send an email and get in touch with the author. I then said, for example, Bat Ye’or. He said wait a minute, and went to his bookshelf and brought back a copy of The Dhimmi in Hebrew! I can tell you he fully understands the concept of Dhimmitude and how it relates to the mental state of Jews who would hand over that land in the HOPE that our Muslim overlords would leave the rest of us alone.
“Security forces prepare to evacuate Amona,” by Uzi Baruch, Israel National News, December 14, 2016:
Security forces are preparing for the evacuation of Amona following a decision by the residents of the town not to respond to the proposal submitted to them yesterday.
Amona residents gathered at 9 AM on Wednesday morning to discuss the final draft of the government’s deal, after receiving the draft on Tuesday night.
After several hours of discussions the residents suspended the meeting temporarily without reaching a decision. They will resume the discussions this evening and hope to announce their final decision on whether to accept the proposal or fight to keep their homes exactly where they are.
The deal was agreed upon by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Jewish Home Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
The agreement requires Amona’s residents to leave their homes by the date required by the Israeli Supreme Court, or by a future date which the Supreme Court will set if they agree to the government’s request to delay the expulsion. In return, the government will immediately begin work on eleven portable buildings in Lot 38, which has an area of six dunams. In addition, the government will build four portable buildings in the lots immediately next to Amona, and will give them permits for two years.
During the two-year period, the possibility of settling the area long-term will be discussed, and the discussion process will be completed. The government will also turn to Jerusalem Magistrates Court, requesting they remove owners’ names from the property, since the land is “absentee property” whose owners have not recognized or paid taxes on it for decades. When the process is completed and it is clear how much land belongs to the new Amona, professional planners will be called in to plan a long-term town on the spot, after which the Attorney General will examine the possibility of legalizing it.
The government will give the lot to the Binyamin Regional Council, along with permits to build for two years, instead of the regular eight months.
The building and preparations are expected to take five weeks.
Building permits which were given for two initial years will be extended, to allow the process to be completed.
The government also agreed to ask the court for a 30-day extension, in order to allow the preparation of temporary structures to house Amona’s residents in the neighboring town of Ofra. The government also agreed to work to ensure there are no gaps and all construction is completed on schedule.
If Amona’s residents agree to this plan, the government will speak to the court and explain that Amona’s expulsion and rebuilding will be done peacefully, at the time set by the political echelon and according to the Supreme Court’s ruling….