Jewish Home Threatens Budget Crisis Over Amona Outpost

Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Failure of the government to save the Amona outpost community from court-ordered evacuation will precipitate a coalition crisis, a Jewish Home party MK warned on Monday, according to The Times of Israel.

MK Bezalel Smotrich said that the party will vote against the government’s budget if it does not come up with a satisfactory solution. The forty families in Amona face eviction and demoliton of their homes, which the court determined were built on Palestinian land, by December 25. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has said that he will comply with the court order.

“If the prime minister understands that approving the state budget depends on an arrangement for Amona, it’s safe to assume that we will see an arrangement being passed,” Smotrich told Army Radio.

Jewish Home’s eight seats in a governing coalition of 66 MKs, are needed if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is to pass the budget.

Besides budget difficulties, there could be a confrontation on the ground. Army Radio reported Monday that right-wing activists are planning to bring some 15,000 people to Amona in December to block the evacuation. Smotrich denied any knowledge of such a plan.

A 2006 demolition of several homes in Amona led to a violent confrontation between thousands of protesters and police at the site.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) responded defiantly to U.S. criticism of a video put out by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in which he accused the Palestinians of seeking to to “ethnically cleanse” Yehudah and Shomron through their demands for removal of Jewish communities from the region in any peace agreement. Washington termed his rhetoric “inappropriate and unhelpful.”

“The next U.S. administration — whether it’s [Hillary] Clinton or [Donald] Trump — will start to get used to the idea that the [Jewish communities of Yehudah and Shomron] will not be evacuated under Netanyahu,” she said.

She called the evacuation of Jewish residents under a deal with the Palestinians a human rights issue and praised Netanyahu for bringing it up.

“For years, we’ve been talking about the human rights of the other side, of the Palestinians, but not the rights of Jewish residents,” she said.

“We’ve said there is a disagreement between us and the U.S. government, but this will be resolved in negotiations,” she added, in comments on Israel Radio.