‘Amona Law’ Would Prevent Demolitions for Seven Years

YERUSHALAYIM -
A view of the Amona outpost. (Noam Moskowitz/FLASH90)
A view of the Amona outpost. (Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

A new law would postpone the demolition of homes which have been ordered to be demolished for as long as seven years, allowing the owners of the homes to sort out legal issues without becoming homeless. Although it would apply to any house against which a demolition order has been issued, both within Israel proper and in Yehudah and Shomron, the law proposed by MK Miki Zohar is aimed directly at preventing the demolition of homes in Amona.

The Amona saga goes back to 2006, when the High Court ruled that the outpost located in the Binyamin region was built on land claimed by Palestinian families. In February of that year, police and officials of the Civil Administration evacuated and razed nine buildings, facing down 4,000 Israeli protesters in a traumatic operation that saw dozens of people, including three MKs, injured.

Since then, the State has sought ways to prevent further demolitions, although various defense ministers have insisted that the remaining homes on the site will be demolished. The original settlers of Amona claim that the land was purchased from Palestinians, a claim disputed by Peace Now, which organized a petition of the claimants to demolish the homes.

The High Court had previously ruled that houses built on land claimed by Palestinians, even if those claims are unsubstantiated, must be demolished and cannot be rebuilt for as long as a decade, as evidence is gathered regarding ownership. The court in 2014 reaffirmed its earlier ruling and insisted that all the buildings on the site be demolished.

The new law proposed by Zohar will postpone the demolition of such houses for seven years in cases where the State provided infrastructure or other assistance to build them, and five years in cases where Palestinian claimants say that the land belongs to them without being able to supply documentation.

According to Zohar, “we must do everything we can to prevent harm to the residents and allow the State time to prepare for evacuations. It’s unreasonable to evict Jews overnight based on a court ruling. A seven-year delay is logical and proper, especially in cases where no ownership of the land can be proven.”