The Israeli government has given initial authorization for the establishment of a new community for the evacuated residents of the Amona outpost, according to media reports on Sunday.
The Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee gave approval for construction of a new town, which was signed by Coordinator of the Government’s Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
It represented the first formal step in the process of making good on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s promise to build new homes for the evacuees, the first such project in Yehudah and Shomron in many years.
The news was received cautiously by Avichai Boaron, a spokesman for the Amona families, who agreed to leave their homes peacefully last March on condition that the government follow through on its promise.
While he said they “welcome” the decision, he remained concerned over the slow pace of compensating the group.
“Unfortunately, though, it is too early to rejoice, as it is still another stage in a long and tiresome bureaucratic planning process that could take many years,” he said.
“Only an order to establish a temporary residential site can quell our distress. The new school year begins in a few months, yet we and our children do not know what will happen next year. We have been stuck in a youth hostel for four months in difficult conditions and our future remains foggy,” Boaron added.
Netanyahu has sought to satisfy the demands of the evacuees while keeping an eye on the big diplomatic picture, which always militates against building. In this case, the High Planning Committee had reportedly originally been scheduled to meet on the matter earlier this month, but Netanyahu thought it prudent to postpone it, lest it cause tension with President Trump during his visit.
Be that as it may, Boaron did not hesitate to remind him of his specific commitments to them:
“We turn to the prime minister and call on him to honor himself and us, and enable us to establish a new town as we agreed with him. According to the agreement, work on the new town was supposed to have begun by the end of March. As of today — two months later — there is no trace of the beginning of work.
“We expect the prime minister to instruct the attorney general to issue an order that will enable an immediate beginning to construction. Only then will we know that the prime minister has not broken the agreement with us and that the new town will, indeed, be built.”