DESPITE THE HARDSHIPS AND DISPOSSESSION, the dismantlement of Amona was part of a great achievement, Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel told Israel’s national public news.
He was talking about the settlement-arrangement bill. If the settlement-arrangement bill is passed, it will retroactively legalize hundreds of thousands of Israeli homes in the West Bank. To get it to pass the coalition, lawmakers had to agree to remove provisions shielding Amona from demolition.
The compromise for Amona’s destruction was organized by Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett.
While the government was supposed to resettle the dozens of families from Amona in a nearby area, these homes were never built. And then Palestinians successfully petitioned the High Court to stop the development completely.
Now, Netanyahu has vowed the government will build a new settlement “ASAP” for the Amona families, who appear to be temporarily homeless since their evacuation beginning on Tuesday. Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said the government had failed the people of Amona.
Although the settlers mostly left peacefully, there were some skirmishes between protesters and police and some reports of violence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged protesters to understand that it was “also hard” for security forces to be dismantling Amona.
Settler leaders like Ariel are hopeful for the realization of Greater Israel including the West Bank and have largely been casting the Amona settlers as unfortunate victims, though the outpost was built on private land and the Supreme Court ordered it to be taken down in 2014.
Jewish Home Knesset rep. Bezalel Smotrich promised the coalition wouldn’t survive a no-vote on the settlement-arrangement bill now that Amona has been dismantled.
TEL AVIV MAYOR RON HULDAI said he’ll be running for mayor again in 2018. It would Huldai’s third term since winning in 1998.
“Still, in a year and a half at Israel’s pace, who knows,” he added.
Huldai beat Meretz candidate Nitzan Horowitz in the 2013 municipal election notably mostly for its low voter turnout.