The Decision on Destroying Amona is the Crossroads for the State of Israel

The State of Israel has shown very little problem in destroying flourishing communities over the green line.  Over 11 years ago it destroyed all of Jewish Gaza just to placate the Bush administration.  Settler activists pray that Amona will be different, but with the legal system firmly controlled by the left and the politicians unwilling to take the steps to change it, Amona’s fate appears to be sealed.

However, it does not need to be this way.  Amona is a test case for how the State of Israel views itself.  Will it allow dubious land claims by Arabs who are funded by the extreme left and foreign governments dictate policy or will it chart an “Israel First” course. No other threat to Israel’s existence is as ominous as the precedent about to be set at Amona and if it is destroyed similar cases will pop up all over Judea and Samaria.  We see this in Susiya, which is now claimed by squatters from Yatta a former Jewish city now populated by Arabs.

Amona’s destruction would not only be precedent setting, it would prove it pointless to put one’s trust in state authorities.  Not one of the politicians in the government can and will stop Amona from being destroyed, only the Prime Minister.  Only Bibi can, if he decided that Jewish values trump foreign influence be able to save Amona.

Amona puts the future of the State of Israel on the table and in the hands of unelected judges. Can it be stopped…yes, but only if we are willing to call into question the ineffectiveness of elected officials to stand up to foreign powers.


Without Amona the Government Will Fall

“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.

Will Avigdor Lieberman Save Amona?

The Amona community, long viewed as a red line for activists from Yehuda and Shomron is slated to be destroyed do to Arab claims that they in fact own the land. The key with Amona is to ignore the noise coming from the Knesset and the two bills in committee there. At the end of the day they will be removed by the Prime Minister. The real solution rests in the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law. This law allows the government to buy the land of those who fled their property to enemy countries.

Newly appointed Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman has the power to implement this. Sources say he is looking into the very possibility of doing so in Amona’s case.

Most observers believe that if Amona would fall, the coalition would be imperiled and the country would move to new elections. In 2006 Amona was the site of intense police brutality against protesters seeking to block house demolitions there.

If Lieberman is successful in using the 1950 law to solve this issue, the precedent will be replayed across the Judea and Samaria.

So the question this summer, what kind of Amona will we have?  Will it be a 2006 redux or will Amona will serve as a catalyst to move the country forward and finally find a solution to conflicts on property ownership in Judea and Samaria?