High Court Issues Order Against Funds for Amona, Netiv Ha’avot

One of the homes scheduled to be demolished in the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood in Gush Etzion. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

The High Court has issued an injunction against the state’s transfer of funds to residents of the Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood in the Gush Etzion town of Elazar, and former residents of Amona, that would be used to build their new communities. In the case of Amona, work has begun on the new community of Amichai, where they are set to move later this year. Netiv Ha’avot is still standing, but residents have until June to vacate.

The injunction was issued in response to a petition by leftist groups, who said that the money would be used to fund illegal settlements. The state has until next Monday to respond. The petition also claims that the sums being transferred to the several hundred residents of these neighborhoods – amounting to tens of millions of shekels – is an unfair amount.

The court last week had approved a delay in the demolition of Netiv Ha’avot, after the state requested an extension of the order to demolish the site. The court accepted the state’s argument that it needed more time to find alternative living arrangements for those living in the community. The state now has until June 15th to carry out the demolition orders.

Netiv Ha’avot is several meters beyond the jurisdiction of Elazar, and the land on which the neighborhood stands, and where it has been standing for a decade, is being claimed by two Arabs. According to Israeli law, a mere claim by Arabs of ownership of land is sufficient for the issuance of demolition orders by the High Court – and such issues have been ordered for the site. Previous court rulings had said that the land was actually state land, and that the buildings could remain. In light of those rulings, the High Court in its 2016 decision gave residents a year and a half to find alternative housing.

Construction has already begun on the first homes in the new town of Amichai, the town that was approved for the families who were evicted from their homes in Amona. The town, which was born in wake of the forced eviction and demolition of the Shomron community of Amona, is being built near Shiloh, a bit further south from where Amona was located. The town will eventually have 1,100 homes, and all former residents of Amona will receive homes there.