Amona residents reject compromise
Following a tension-filled day of protracted discussions, Amona representatives vote against proposed compromise by 59-20, dashing government’s hopes of bringing dispute to a peaceful conclusion; representatives cite absence of guarantee that all families will be permitted to stay on the mountain; evacuation orders expected to be carried out in the coming days.
The residents’ rejection was the culmination of a tense-filled day during which the outpost’s inhabitants discussed the compromise which had been put forth on Monday by Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
Shortly after midnight, the results of the votes cast by Amona’s representatived tallied 59 opposing the acceptance of the proposal and just 20 voting in favor of it.
The representatives justified their decision on the grounds that the proposal contained no concrete guarantees that all those currently residing in Amona would be permitted to remain on the mountain itself, despite the government’s public pronouncements.
Despite their seeming recalcitrance, the residents expressed their willingness to consider any other solutions set out by the government. Nevertheless, the government has already ruled out the possibility of formulating any new ideas citing the futility of such attempts. The evacuation therefore, is likely to be carried out in the coming days given that according to the High Court of Justice order, the outpost must be evacuated by December 25.
The arrival of thousands of Amona supporters to the outpost to resist the evacuation subsequent to the decision however, bodes poorly for the chances of a peaceful eviction. Indeed, Amona supporters and residents have already begun blocking the roads with tyres.
“We have prepared the place for resistance,” said Benjamin who made his way to outpost last night. “We were up all night preparing things. It isn’t an active resistance rather than a passive one. In other words, we won’t hit anyone or curse the police, but we won’t enable them to remove us so easily. They will need to drag me from the buildings. They will need to chase me and maybe even throw me from the rooftops.
“It won’t be easy for them,” he assured, “but the resistance will not include illegal acts or hitting the police.”
Right-wing officials slammed the residents for the decision, stating that “it lacks responsibility. They placed the system in turmoil and it is unclear how it will be able to extricate itself from it.”
But for the residents, any pragmatic merits of the compromise did little to outweigh the sentimental considerations. “We, residents of Amona, came here years ago as young couples. Our children were born here, we built our homes here, we built our children’s memories here, we have happy memories. Here, in our homes, we celebrated birthdays, weddings and Israeli festivals,” one resident said.
“Over the last year we have led our lives with the view to achieving one aim—to remain at home, to remain on the mountain of Amona.
The decision to rebuff the offer dashes Bennett’s hopes of concluding the debacle without provoking resistance from the residents while simultaneously allowing them to maintain their presence in Amona.
“After a lot of effort we succeeded in formulating a good plan to use absentee landowners’ land and we stuck to the targets we set for ourselves—to keep Amona on the mountain,” Bennett said on Monday. “This is a new plan with greater longevity on a massive space, with huge potential for the future.”