Gov’t Approves Funding for Amona Evictees; Migron Evictees Demand the Same

Amona, settlement
Demolished caravan homes in Amona in February, a few days after residents were evicted. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The government on Sunday approved funding of NIS 55 million for the establishment of Amichai, the town that was approved earlier this year for the families who were evicted from their homes in Amona. Development work was frozen over a dispute over which ministry was going to pay for construction of the town.

After much deliberation and bureaucratic procedures, former residents of Amona, who were thrown out of their homes by order of the High Court last year, were able to choose a new location for the construction of homes. The evictees chose a site in the area of Shiloh, north of Yerushalayim. The site chosen was the scene of numerous attempts to set up an unauthorized outpost — and as many attempts by police and the IDF to tear down the tents and temporary structures that spring up there occasionally. Considered a bastion of the “hilltop youth,” the site is frequently on the radar of police who seek to question activists about various “price tag” attacks. Work at the site began in June, but stopped after an initial NIS 10 million earmarked for infrastructure development ran out.

Avichai Boron, chairman of the Amona residents’ committee, praised the decision, saying that “after many long weeks in which work to develop Amichai did not take place, we congratulate the government for the decision. The prime minister has proven that he is committed to residents of Amona, but this commitment will be fully proven only when the new town is established.”

Meanwhile, former residents of Migron, another community in Shomron whose inhabitants were evicted, are demanding that the government do something to restore their homes as well. Although the Migron hilltop was evacuated five years ago, the government has not yet decided on a permanent housing solution for its displaced citizens. Dozens of residents and supporters protested outside the Prime Minister’s Office Sunday morning, demanding that they, too, get money allocated to their cause. They were joined by Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.

The latter said that there were no legal reasons not to begin construction of permanent dwellings at the site chosen for the new Migron settlement. Shaked promised protesters that she and her Jewish Home party would do everything possible to push the government to approve and fund construction at the site. “I am positive that the prime minister will stand by his word and approve and fund construction,” she said. “There is no reason not to, and there are no excuses not to. All the legal issues have been resolved. We will do everything to make sure that construction plans are approved.”