February 2, 2017
When I posted yesterday, the final outcome on the Amona situation was still pending. I wrote with a note of qualified hope. First, because I am seeing a shift to the right in this country, which suggests the possibility of constructive action down the road.
And then because, foolishly, I had some modicum of hope that the High Court – which was considering a Palestinian Arab petition to be recognized as the owner(s) of all of the land on the mountain on which Amona was situated – would reject that outrageous petition. Then the State would be able to proceed with its promise to relocate the residents on the mountain.
I say “foolishly,” but if some measure of reason and fairness had prevailed, my expectation that the Court would have rejected the petition would have been realized.
In the end, the Court did not reject it and Amona was evacuated, with no possibility for the residents to move to another plot of land near where they had been living – which is what they had been promised by the State would happen!
The injustice of this situation boggles the mind. And there are a great many people here in Israel who are furious.
Also deeply pained and sad, because the residents have suffered, and because the evacuation ended with violence. The sight of Jew against Jew in the land of Israel is a horror, and something that should not happen.
I am composing this quickly so that I can get it out. In the coming days and weeks I will provide a great deal more. Now I simply want to provide a quick overview of the problems we are looking at.
Obviously, the solution to this situation – to ensure that there is never another Amona – is application of sovereignty over the land.
But until that happens, we must look at how this happened. There are multiple problems to be addressed:
1) The composition of the High Court is nauseatingly leftist. There must be adjustments in how justices are selected. It’s being talked about, but has not yet happened. The Court does not reflect the position of the people of Israel nor of the Knesset.
2) There is no proper adjudication of land disputes. This is a shocking fact, but it is fact. The Arabs come to the Court and say, “look, look, we have this piece of paper that says it’s our land.” And the Court says, “My goodness, let’s move the Jews out then.”
I simplify here, but not by a lot.
We need a new court, with justices who are experts in land law and can examine the documents carefully to determine their validity and applicability. (Understand, these are Jordanian document from before 1967, which raises other questions.)
There is reason to be highly dubious about the documents that were presented in this instance.
What is more, it is my understanding that even if the documents were judged to be valid, they didn’t apply to every square meter of the land on the mountain, but rather to small sections. It was the Court that made the determination to apply the ruling across the board.
Let me add another shocking fact here: The land registry for Judea and Samaria is not open to Jews. This has to change.
3) Then there is the fact that the Palestinian Arabs were assisted – I would venture to say recruited for the cause – by Yesh Din, an Israeli NGO that is not only pro-Palestinian Arab, it is actually a foreign agent, as are several other similar NGOs. I say this because they receive the majority of their funds from foreign governments, primarily European governments and the EU. They should not be allowed to approach the Court. In the US, they would not be permitted to do so.
This situation must change. We now have a law that requires transparency in funding, but it does not go far enough. Adjustments in the legislation are critically important.
4) There is the over-riding question of who controls this country – the Court or the Knesset. If the Court can overturn legislation passed by the Knesset (which can happen if a foreign-funded NGO brings a challenge to the legislation before the Court), we have a problem. This is being discussed.
The Regulation Law, designed to protect Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, is very likely to pass this coming week. But then, how long will it be in force before the Court throws it out?
When next I write I will discuss in more detail the announcement made in response to the Court ruling:
1) That 3,000 more units would be built in Judea and Samaria, and
2) That a new yishuv – Jewish community – would be built on State land in Judea/Samaria for the relocation of the residents of Amona, who are currently in temporary quarters in nearby Ofra. This represents the first time in many years that there will be a new community, and you can be certain we’re going to hear plenty about this. A committee to oversee this is being formed. This would mitigate the situation for those residents to some degree but not sufficiently.
What happens, of course, is that the sort of outrage we have confronted stiffens our backs.
May we have the strength and determination we require.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.