Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin, spoke with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday regarding the planned evacuation of Amona, calling upon the Justice and Defense ministries to do everything in their power to find a solution for the embattled community.
Amona, a small town located near Ofra in Samaria, is slated for destruction, after the Supreme Court ruled the community was built illegally on privately owned Arab land and must be demolished.
In 2006, security forces violently removed hundreds of demonstrators during the demolition of nine houses in Amona, leaving hundreds injured.
Given the town’s history, said Elkin, residents are justified in their concerns.
“I understand the residents’ fears, and they’re right to be concerned given what’s happened here in past years.”
“On the other hand, the judicial system can find solutions for Amona without the need for an evacuation. That was my position regarding Migron as well and with regards to the Givat HaUplana neighborhood in Beit El. Also then I believed there were solutions to the problem, and [now] as a member of the cabinet, I will continue to put as much pressure as possible to move the system in that direction.”
In the case of both Migron and Givat HaUlpana, efforts to prevent the evacuations failed.
“That’s precisely why I said Amona residents have legitimate reasons to be worried. I don’t want to give them a false sense of security and tell them that everything is fine and they can relax.”
Despite his concerns, Elkin was hopeful that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) would cobble together a majority for reforms which would enable the government to legalize Amona.
“I hope that the Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked… will know how to put together a majority for these bills, and that if are indeed passed – or at least one of them passed – they will in fact provide a solution.”
Elkin also noted that “there exist other judicial solutions which do not require legislative changes”.
While the judicial establishment, he acknowledged, opposed such moves, Elkin called upon the Justice and Defense ministers to compel their respective ministries to take action.
“It’s true that the judicial system is opposed to this, but I expect the Justice Minister and Defense Minister – who via the Civil Administration also has some authority here – to force their views onto [ministerial] staff.”