Justice Official Wants 6-month Delay on Permanent Settlement for Amona Evacuees

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Mobile homes set up in Shiloh for the evacuees from Amona in January.
Mobile homes set up in Shiloh for the evacuees from Amona in January. Credit: Emil Salman

Deputy Attorney General Erez Kamenitz opposes the quick construction of a new settlement for the former residents of the unauthorized outpost of Amona. The professional staff in Kamenitz's office expressed their objections during a meeting held this week in the Prime Minister's Office, sources involved in the matter told Haaretz.

Amona was dismantled in early February and all the residents removed. The High Court of Justice had ordered Amona evacuated in 2014 because it had been built on privately owned Palestinian land. 

The Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief of staff Yoav Horowitz attended the meeting, along with Sraya Demsky, who is in charge of the coordinating between the former residents and the government, and Kamenitz.

Kamenitz expressed his objections to the issuance of an order by the head of the IDF's Central Command that would allow the immediate construction of a new temporary settlement. Instead, it is possible to establish a permanent new settlement without issuing a military order in only six months, he said. Kamenitz proposed waiting for six months and not allowing the evacuees to move to a temporary location. No decision was reached on the issue at the meeting.

The former residents of Amona object to waiting. They say their representatives did not attend the meeting, but expressed their objections to Kamenitz's proposal to the various officials involved. 

"For over three months we have been living in dormitory conditions that are inappropriate for normal family life," said the women of Amona in a letter they sent to Netanyahu before the meeting. "There is a great feeling of detachment. We live the loss of our homes, the warmth and family every day."

"How can it be that some official can prevent the Zionist decision that provides the only proper answer to the destruction of Amona?" they added in the letter.

At the end of April, Haaretz reported that Maj. Gen, Roni Numa, the head of the Central Command, had signed an order expanding the area of the jurisdiction of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council in the West Bank. The order affects the area around the settlement of Shiloh and expands the settlement in the direction of the hill known as "Givat Geulat Zion" (The Hill of the Redemption of Zion), where the former residents of Amona are requesting to build their new community.

Numa's order includes a number of other nearby hills too, including one where the regional council wants to build a sewage treatment plant, which would allow the construction of a new neighborhood in the settlement Shvut Rachel. 

Before the evacuation of Amona, Netanyahu proposed the new neighborhood of Shvut Rachel as a solution for housing the former residents of Amona, but they rejected the offer out of hand. They say they were promised a different hill, which is not in the area included in Numa's order.

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