Embittered Amona evacuees threaten to build tents on new settlement
As patience wears thin with government decision to freeze construction work on new settlement of Amichai, and a seeming refusal among government ministries to take responsibility, former Amona residents point finger squarely at Netanyahu; pledge to erect tents on designated plot until work resumes; 'It is cruel to demand of us that we continue to wait.'
Amona evacuees have threatened to erect tents on land the government designated for the building of a new outpost if it failed to resume construction work on the new community for their resettlement.
Residents of Amona were court-ordered to vacate the area which was ruled to be built on privately-owned Palestinian land, and were promised by the government that the new community of “Amichai” would quickly be established in its place.
In June, preliminary work began on Amichai for Amona evacuees but just one month later, construction work came to an abrupt halt after government ministries failed to transfer the necessary funding, Ynet learned.
In preparation for the action, the embittered evacuees ordered and began assembling tents in which they intend to reside until work on Amichai is resumed.
Despite the move, the leader of the Amona settlers, Avichai Buaron, insists it is not intended to be a protest or demonstration.
“There is not protest or demonstration here. We have been through the whole winter and summer here and people don’t understand that it simply isn’t human to live in hostel rooms for more than half a year,” Buaron said. “It is cruel to demand of us that we continue to wait here.”
Nevertheless, his statements illustrated that the intention to build a haphazard community in Amichai were for the long term, rather than a stop-gap measure.
“It is clear that when we do go there, thousands of youths will join us. When we do, it will be to stay for good,” he added.
Despite the breaks being put on the construction of Amichai by the government, no ministry was prepared to take responsibility. Nevertheless, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office have attempted to solve the crisis but efforts have yet to bear fruit.
The ministries of defense and of housing which recently became involved in the dispute have also absolved themselves of responsibility for the transfer of funds to the Binyamin Regional Council—the factor that caused the moratorium in building in the first place.
The crisis is currently being dealt with by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) who is supposed to make a decision on whether to increase the budget for the Housing Ministry. But the passing of the buck may continue if he instructs that the matter be handled by the Interior Ministry.
For the evacuees however, the buck ultimately stops with Prime Minister Netanyahu. “We are not getting into governmental work. It doesn’t interest us,” Buaron said. “The person who absolutely carries the responsibility is the prime minister.”
The evacuees were further incensed by Netanyahu’s mentioning of Amona during his speech before crowds of supporters and Likud activists at a solidarity demonstration last Wednesday at the Tel Aviv Convention Center as the prime minister finds himself embroiled in a string of corruption investigations.
“We have Amona and Dimona,” Netanyahu declared before his supporters—a statement utterly rejected by the evacuees. “For 194 days we have been rotting in a youth hostel—you are responsible for this. Don’t wave at us in conferences. It is doubtful that at this rate the new community will be built,” one of the residents lamented.