Amona Outpost Struggle Could Rend Likud

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

If the government fails to save the Amona outpost community from a court-ordered demolition, it could demolish Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s hold on the Likud party as well.

Right-wing MKs have threatened a revolt if a legal solution is not found for the 40 families who face evacuation after the High Court ruled that the land their homes stand on belongs to Palestinians.

“Just as we went against [former prime minister Ariel] Sharon, so we won’t hesitate to act against Netanyahu. But I hope it won’t come to that,” Welfare Minister Haim Katz (Likud) said, referring to the battle within the Likud over the evacuation from Gush Katif in 2005. Opposition within the party led Sharon to leave and form the Kadima party to carry out his plan.

Katz spoke in a protest tent to save Amona put up outside the prime minster’s office. “To evacuate Amona would be go against the government’s policies,” Katz said.

He noted also that the families who went to live there did so with government support and funding. The outpost was built in 1995 with 2.16 million shekels from the Construction Ministry.

“We have an obligation to resolve the issue and to ensure that the community can continue to stay there,” Katz said.

Yerushalayim Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) noted that past efforts to stave off similar evacuations, in Migron and Ulpana were unsuccessful.

“We must use all the tools at our disposal to legalize Amona,” Elkin said.

Legal action against the Jewish residents came in response to a petition by the NGO Yesh Din representing 10 families from the nearby village of Silwad, who claim ownership of the land.

Campaigners for Amona contend that it is not only this one small outpost which is at stake. Thousands of other homes in Yehudah and Shomron are similarly vulnerable to ownership challenges, and if the Left wins here it will seek to bring down other Jewish communities in the region.