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ARZA Supports the State of Israel’s Dismantling of the Illegal West Bank Outpost Amona

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ARZA strongly supports the Israeli government’s dismantling of the illegal outpost of Amona and the evacuation of its 40 families, a difficult endeavor that ultimately will strengthen democratic institutions and the rule of law in Israel.

The Amona outpost was established in 1995 on privately owned Palestinian lands, and has come to represent the flagrant disregard of Israeli law by certain far-right radicals in the settler movement. On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court gave Amona’s 200 residents 48 hours to leave in advance of a February 8 deadline for the outpost to be dismantled. Subsequently, radical voices have called upon border police and soldiers to disobey the Court’s decision and officers’ direct orders, and one far-right MK abhorrently compared Israel’s police to rapists. Statements like these are beyond the pale of decency and should be condemned by every responsible leader in Israel. 

ARZA congratulates the government on its willingness to adhere to the rule of law, a fundamental principle of civilized society to prevent descent into anarchy. At a time when we repeatedly have expressed concern about the government’s commitment to certain democratic institutions in Israel, this is a healthy sign.

As lovers of the Jewish people, we are distressed and upset to witness confrontations between Jews such as those that are occurring at Amona. However, it is not the border police who have invited conflict, but rather the occupants of the illegal outpost and their enraged supporters who promote disobedience to the rule of law and order. We wholeheartedly condemn those—including a handful of radical rabbis—who value illegally seized land over the authority of Israel’s democratic institutions, including the court and the military.

We also recall the failings of the government after the successful evacuation of Israeli settlements in Gush Katif in Gaza in 2005. We urge the government to anticipate and appropriately provide for those who are evacuated from Amona, especially those who agree to leave peacefully.

As we honor the government’s determination to see law and order carried out, we must likewise express our dismay about the Regulation Bill in the Knesset that would retroactively legalize and legitimate West Bank outposts (similar to, but not including, Amona). The bill has currently passed a second and third reading in the Knesset, and is due for a vote on Monday, February 6. ARZA vigorously supports a rejection of the Regulation Bill, which would be a huge step backwards in light of the endorsement of Israeli democracy at Amona.