Amona Evacuees: Authorities Thwart New Settlement for Us

Settlers say area they were promised was not included in recent council expansion

Protesters Amona
BAZ RATNER/REUTERS

Evacuees of the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona have accused authorities of thwarting the construction of a new settlement for them.

They claim they were promised a hilltop that was excluded from a recent military order expanding the jurisdiction of the Mateh Binyamin regional council, which includes the Jewish settlements and outposts in the southern part of the West Bank.

The evacuees say they had expected Giva Heh, a hilltop next to the Geulat Tzion outpost, where they planned to settle, to be included in the council’s jurisdiction, paving the way to their move there.

Instead, the order signed last week by Major General Roni Noma of the IDF Central Command includes another area that was initially proposed to the Amona settlers, who turned it down. That area, known as Giva Bet, was earmarked as a new neighborhood of the Shvut Rachel settlement.

Currently a few settler families who don’t abide by the decisions of the settler establishment live off and on in temporary dwellings at Geulat Tzion. Periodically, they are evacuated from there by the IDF’s Civil Administration.

Law enforcement sources confirmed the military order expanding the council does not include the hilltop where the Amona settlers wish to build their homes, and that it incorporates other hilltops in the Shiloh area. The location the Amona evacuees desire is east of there. The sources also say the areas placed under the Mateh Binyamin jurisdiction include agricultural lands, the hilltop where the Shvut Rachel neighborhood is planned, as well as an area for a school and wastewater treatment plant.

Avihai Boaron, a spokesman for the Amona evacuees, said the council’s jurisdiction was expanded to include Shvut Rachel-Shiloh, which is “unrelated to the establishment of a new settlement for the Amona evacuees. The new settlement is supposed to be built on a different hilltop.”

Noma has not yet signed an order to allow the erection of a temporary residential site for the Amona evacuees though there have recently been discussions about doing so. On Sunday there was a meeting on the matter in the Prime Minister’s Office with representatives from several ministries. No decision has been announced. A law enforcement source says that officials don’t rule out issuing an order for temporary quarters, but adds that it is “legally complicated” and discussion is still ongoing.