“It’s unthinkable to simply evacuate entire towns for judicial reasons,” Infrastructure Minster Yuval Steinitz was quoted as saying on Monday in relation to Amona and its impending destruction.
Amona has become a red line for many in the government and a litmus test for both Avigdor Lieberman and Bibi Netanyahu. The issue is far more beuroctratic than ideological. Most of the country still remembers what occurred there when the former Prime Minister Olmert essentially used what amounted to an incredible use of force to ensure the destruction of several houses there. What transpired there even disgusted those on the left.
The country has little interest going back to those times and move wants to move forward. It is clear Steinitz is floating this idea in order to pave way for a government decision to legalize Amona. He knows as well as the Prime Minister that without Amona the government will fall.
Uprooting Amona will confirm a disconenct between the leadership of Likud and the party’s rank and file, possibly splitting the party. It will also destroy Lieberman’s persona as a populist leader of the rightwing, damaging his ability to rebuild his brand.
Admidst the growing storm that threatens to tear apart the government, Yuval Steinitz has taken th lead in finding a logical solution. “My proposal says something simple – logic must prevail. There’s a difference between one of two houses and a whole neighborhood, and there’s a difference between temporary living on the land and a community that has been built up over many years when someone suddenly challenges the ownership.”
Steinitz has a point. Amona, isn’t growing simply to make a statement, but it is a thriving community. In most civil societies, absentee land claims are settled through monetary comensation, but because Amona is over the green line, the Supreme Court views the community through the lense of politics rather than ruling on legitimate government policy. Then again, Israel’s supreme court has always had a habit of ruling against communities in Judea and Samaria.
In a government that has at least one minister accused of building without approval, the hypocrisy of that same government being forced to destroy a whole comunity defies logic. Then again, rightwing governments in Israel have consistantly found themselves hamstrung by a leftist court system, a hold out from the Mapai era that imposes its will on everything and anything in Israel.
What About the Absentee Land Law of 1950?
For days now rumors have been floating that Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was going to use an already established law enacted in 1950 connected to absentee land ownership. As of today, that proposal has been taken off the table for fear that the supreme court would not only strike it down, but use it against the right in the future. Attorney General Mandebilt has insisted the only solution is to move the community by rebuilding it.
If Amona goes, the government goes, and yet the entrenched left is forcing Bibi’s hand and pushing him to destroy his own government. Yet, somehow Bibi seems capable of finaly turning the tables on an overinvolved and activist court. If he truly wats to do so, Amona is the right place to start.