The residents of the small hilltop community of Amona have agreed to a government offer allowing 24 families to relocate to a nearby part of the mountain, averting a disastrous forced evacuation which would have evoked memories of the traumatic Gaza withdrawal.
After exhaustive overnight negotiations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and the residents of Amona, the proposal was accepted by the residents with a vote of 45 in favor to 25 against and two abstentions.
The agreement came a week after the Amona families rejected a similar offer which would have seen only 12 families staying in the area. Under the terms of the new deal, 24 families will immediately receive caravans on a plot of land a few meters from Amona’s current location. The remaining families will be relocated to the nearby community of Ofra.
Met with relief and praise from Israeli leaders, the deal was made just in time to avoid what was gearing up to be a combative standoff between Amona’s residents and the hundreds of supporters who arrived at the hilltop to help defend the outpost, and IDF and security forces who would be ordered to evict the families. Eviction had been scheduled for December 25.
Operations like these often lead to incidents of national trauma, with citizens feeling abandoned and punished by their government, IDF soldiers forced to violate personal morals and beliefs, and lingering nationwide resentment and discord. Such was the case in Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gush Katif bloc of settlements in Gaza, when thousands of families were forced from their homes by their own state’s police and soldiers.
“After 20 years of pioneering settlement, against all odds and after two long years, we have decided to suspend our struggle at this time and to accept the decision of the government to build 52 houses and public buildings for Amona. These buildings will serve the needs of residents and the community,” read a statement released by the residents.
“We thank the thousands of families, teenagers and activists who came to Amona in recent days. In your merit, Amona will remain on the map and with God’s help will continue to grow and flourish.”