Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz (Likud) visited the protest tent erected in front of the Prime Minister’s residence by supporters of the embattled town of Amona, which is slated for demolition later this year.
Amona, which was the site of a contentious evacuation in February 2006 which left 300 wounded – most of them demonstrators – when nine homes were demolished, has been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court.
Katz expressed his support for efforts to find a solution for the community, but noted that previous efforts to resist evacuations had failed.
“We went through an evacuation in the Land of Israel [in Gush Katif] and I was one of those who did their best [to prevent it], but apparently it was not enough. If we had don’t enough we would have succeeded. After the Gush Katif and northern Samaria expulsions I don’t think we can permit ourselves to expel 40 families and 200 children because of a court decision, whatever it may be.”
“We need to use good judgment and leave the residents of Amona in their place. We came to Israel in order to build, not destroy. It saddens me to come here. I’m part of the struggle to leave the residents of Amona [in their place], and I hope that you won’t need my help, but if you do I’m here for you.”
The minister also made a veiled threat to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, suggesting opponents of the evacuation would need to resist Netanyahu just as they resisted Ariel Sharon.
“We went through this with Arik Sharon, and I hope that we won’t need to go through this [kind of resistance] against Binyamin Netanyahu and the court. [But] it takes real gall to come and cut off and destroy 40 families’ [houses] who went there to settle with the government’s blessing. We made a mistake in Gush Katif – and we’re still suffering for that expulsion. We cannot afford to repeat our mistakes.”