We lost the battle, but we are winning the war for the Land of Israel’
By morning, the demolition will be finished
BY MARISSA NEWMAN, TOI
Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett on Wednesday hailed the residents of Amona as “heroes” whose campaign to stay in their homes will lead to the annexation of the West Bank and avert future evacuations in the settlements.
The leader of the right-wing party spoke as hundreds of police and bulldozers entered the West Bank outpost to demolish it per a 2014 court order which ruled it was built on privately owned Palestinian land.
Several lawmakers from the Jewish Home party were at the outpost in a show of solidarity with the Amona residents.
“From this legal defeat we will establish a new legal regime in Judea and Samaria that will regulate the entirety of settlements, and from the painful loss of this foothold in this mountain will emerge the State of Israel’s application of sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria,” said the education minister in the Knesset plenum.
Bennett maintained the government “turned over every stone” to salvage the outpost, lamenting that “unfortunately, the struggle for Amona was unsuccessful.” The residents of Amona are “heroes” and “pioneers,” he said.
“We lost the battle, but we are winning the war for the Land of Israel,” the minister told the Knesset plenum. “The residents of Amona, with their dedication and determination, are saving thousands of Jewish families from evacuation, and [it is due to their efforts that] thousands of new families will be settled in our land.”
The education minister was referring to the so-called Regulation Bill, which the Knesset was set to vote into law next Monday. The controversial legislation, which would legalize some 4,000 housing units built on privately owned Palestinian land, was advanced in response to the impending demolition of Amona, though a clause that would retroactively apply it to the outpost was later scrapped in coalition negotiations.
Earlier on Wednesday, ahead of the outpost’s razing, the government approved 3,000 more settlement homes.
“From this hard day, hope will flourish,” he said. “From the ruins of Amona, we will build a new settlement. From the destroyed kindergartens will be established new kindergartens all across Judea and Samaria.”
The minister also urged nonviolence during the demolition.
“Under no circumstances or conditions may one lift a hand against a soldier, a policeman, or a civilian,” he said.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said he expects the police to bring to justice anyone who acts violently.
“Despite the difficulty and the pain, I call on everyone who is still on the mountain — let the police do their job,” he said in the statement, adding that he also calls on Knesset members and public leaders to avoid statements that could “exacerbate the situation.”
Israeli security forces gather ahead of the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona, on February 1, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Threats of clashes hung heavily over the evacuation as supporters of Amona set up makeshift roadblocks and other defenses intended to keep the army from advancing on the …read more