Security Forces Ready to Evict Amona Residents – pending vote on new proposal

According to an Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) report by Eliran Aharon, made on Sunday morning (December 18 2016, 06:43, Israel time), the residents of Amona have been offered a “new proposal”, following an overnight meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) and Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), who met with a representative for the residents of Amona, Yossi Dagan (head of Samaria Regional Council).

This “new offer” looks very much like the “old offer”  except 24 families, instead of 12 families will be crammed into trailers (what Israelis call “caravans”) on a piece of land with an area of six dunams (6,000 sq. meters / 7176 sq. yards). This small piece of land, called “Lot 38” is circled in red, on the map below.

For information on the previous proposal and why Amona residents rejected it, please see:

To understand how the Struggle for Amona is a struggle for National Sovereignty, please see:

In addition, the state will ask the Supreme Court to postpone the eviction by 30 days to allow for the above preparation.


The remaining 18 families will be relocated one kilometer to the west, to the town of Ofra to wait for the Israeli government to build portable buildings on lots adjacent to Amona (in the area circled in blue), at which time the residents will be provided with permits to live on that land for only two years.  During those two years, the Israeli government intends to petition the courts to remove the absentee Arab owners’ names from the plots of land.

It was on the basis of only 4 plots of land (out of the ~ 30 plots on which Amona is built) that the High Court of Israel’s ruled that the entire community of Amona must be relocated or destroyed — even though the Arabs that hold “deeds” to these plots have not been present and have not paid taxes on it for decades.

Furthermore, the land in question was gifted to local area Arabs by the King of Jordan during a period in history in which Jordan illegally occupied and annexed Judea and Samaria from Israel (1948-1967) [see previous posts].

The residents of Amona originally had to decide whether they will accept the “new offer” by 8:00 AM Sunday morning which has been pushed 12:00 PM, in order to allow time for the Israeli government to request the Israeli Supreme Court delay the demolition (Israel National News, Arutz Sheva, Eliran Aharon, Amona, 18/12/16 10:41)

This “new” proposal, like the previous one rejected by the Amona residents was made without any guarantees on the part of the Israeli government. If the residents of Amona reject it, they will face immediate eviction.

15622339_10154264219483403_4851526594833845071_nSaturday night Israel time, it was reported on the Amona English feed on Twitter that security forces were preparing for the eviction of Amona residents and were closing nearby roads.



The following was reported to have been written by Naftali Bennett, following the meeting on Sunday morning and was posted on Facebook shortly afterward (account of Joshua Wander, Public Relations and Security Officer at the International Committee for the Preservation of Har Hazeitim (ICPHH):

בשורות טובות.
כרגע סיימנו מרתון מומ עם רהמ ונציגי עמונה.
המטרה היתה להפוך כל אבן על מנת למנוע פינוי בכפייה של רכס עמונה.

הגענו למתווה מסוכם, שעכשיו יובא להצבעה אצל התושבים.
עיקרי השינוי מקודם:
1. הכפלת מספר המשפחות ל24 על חלקה 38. במקום 12
2. יותר מרכיבי מחויבות של המדינה למימוש ההסכם (מינוי פרויקטור מיוחד, לוזים, התחייבות ראש ממשלה ועוד)

כעת, המתווה יובא בשעה 8:00 להצבעה באסיפת תושבים.
אם יאשרו, נעלה מיד קראוונים לחלקה 38 ונבקש דחייה של 30 יום.
כמו בפעם שעברה אשמח שתפעילו השפעתכם על מנת לשכנעם להצביע בעד.

זהו, הולך לישון עכשיו☺ נפתלי בנט

[translation by Google Translate]

“Good morning, friends.
Good news.
Just finished a marathon meeting with Amona representatives.
Target was to prevent the forced evacuation of Amona ridge.

Reached a proposal, now will be voted on by the residents:
1. Multiplied several families to 24 on plot 38. Instead of 12
2. More elements of the state towards commitment agreement

8:00 vote for gathering residents.
If you approve, immediately trailers for lot 38, and will ask for a 30-day delay in eviction.
I’d love to persuade them to vote “for”.
That’s it, going to sleep now ☺. Naftali Bennett”

Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) reported (Uzi Baruch, 15/12/16 00:40) that residents rejected the previous offer because:

“the proposed arrangement does not provide any guarantee or commitment that we will indeed receive an alternative home… In light of this and in view of the uncertainty in the proposal, the residents of Amona decided tonight…to reject the proposed layout.”

Given that the state has offered no guarantees and the same uncertainly that resulted in the residents of Amona rejecting the previous proposal remains, why would one expect the vote on Sunday morning to be any different?

The only thing that has changed is that with this “new proposal” is that 24 families would be living in trailers on Lot 38, instead of 12.

Who could blame the residents of Amona for rejecting a “new” offer that addresses none of their reasons for rejecting the previous one?

Amona (photo credits: Miriamm Alster / Flash 90) – Israel National News




Ultimatum in Amona – rejected by residents

featured photo from Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) - by Tomer Neuberg/flash 90

The 42 families of Amona faced an excruciating decision  yesterday (Israel time); to accept the “offer” agreed upon by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud), Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit or face evacuation and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods within 2 weeks. According to Israel National News (Arutz Sheva), they’ve made their decision.

They rejected the “offer”.

This is the what the government coalition proposed:

(1) to begin work on setting up trailers (what Israelis call “caravans”) for 12 of the 42 families on Lot 38 (seen circled in red, map below), which has an area of six dunams (6,000 sq. meters / 7176 sq. yards).


(2) for the residents to accept to have the other 30 families relocate one kilometer to the west, to the town of Ofra to wait for the Israeli government to build four portable buildings in the lots adjacent to Amona (see circled in blue), giving them permits to live there for only two years.  During this period, the government said it was their intention to petition the courts to remove owners’ names from the property in question under Amona, as they have not been present and have not paid taxes on the land for decades.

The residents of Amona were to accept the offer — with no guarantees.

screen capture of relocation map (photo by Ari Fuld)

For the last 19 years, the Arabs who held deed to the this land have been absent —expressing no interest in the land, while these Jewish families have tilled it and caused it to become productive.  According to Israeli National News (Arutz Sheva), the court case objecting to the presence of the Jewish residents of Amona was launched by a left wing organization, and not by the Arabs who hold deed to the land. In fact, only one of the absentee landlords was located and none of the “deed-holders” were named in the case.  The case was a political move to further the purposes of the political organization whose end-result was that the High Court of Israel ruled that because there is a “deed” for only four of the plots of land under which the entire community is built, the entire community must either be relocated or destroyed.

Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) reported (Uzi Baruch, 15/12/16 00:40) that residents explained in a statement on Wednesday night, why they chose to reject the offer;

“We were willing to accept the destruction of our private homes, and a move from place to place, if only a Jewish community would remain on the hill. But the proposed arrangement does not provide any guarantee or commitment that we will indeed receive an alternative home. In light of this and in view of the uncertainty in the proposal, the residents of Amona decided tonight, after ten hours of debate, to reject the proposed layout.”

The residents of Amona will be evacuated — their homes and businesses demolished and their lives left in shambles — for what?

Residents of Amona — not squatters

The residents of Amona are not “squatters” living in tents — they live in furnished homes equipped with all the amenities; running water, heat, electricity, fridges, stoves, etc.

Below are some screenshots of one home in Amona, taken from a video shot by Ari Fuld, earlier today:

Inside of a home in Amona

Here are a few more screen captures of a home located on one of the wineries of Amona:

home of a winery of Amona – photo by Ari Fuld

Amona has a school, playgroundroads, vineyards and as posted in the previous article about Amona, sheep and lamb barns (see Brian John Thomas’ video, below.)

Here are some photos of Amona, from the Wine4Amona website hosted by דפיכתוֹם, courtesy of Avi Abelow:




Amona is a productive community that is known for producing award-winning wine

2009 & 2011 awards for Amona wine (photos by Ari Fuld)

Amona also raises sheep and lamb

Sheep and lamb farm in Amona (photo by Brian John Thomas)
Sheep and lamb farm in Amona (photo by Brian John Thomas)

The residents of Amona are ordinary people, with ordinary lives who work and raise their families on the land given to the tribe of Benjamin — land which that was set aside for the Jewish homeland since 1917* and which has been part of Israel since its modern foundation on May 14, 1948.

*see Struggle for Amona - Struggle for National Sovereignty for a brief history] 


Judea and Samaria - the West Bank of the Jordan for a brief history.

The land on which Amona is built was gifted by King Hussein of Jordan to a close associate during the period in which Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria (1948-1967)

This land was not the King of Jordan’s to give.

It was seized by military force when Egypt, Syria and Jordan invaded the newly-created state of Israel, just one day after it was created.

[see Struggle for Amona – Struggle for National Sovereignty, link above].

The Jordanian king having given a parcel of land to colleagues during a time that Jordan illegally occupied and annexed the land from Israel does not make that land the possession of 
(1) those families 
(2) their descendants nor 
(3) anyone that may have subsequently purchased it from them.

This land has always been Israel.

To “give’ the residents of Amona such a “choice” for nothing more than the political gain of an organization is obscene. 

A court’s role is to uphold the law as it is written, which is the High Court of Israel’s justification for having ruled in a case brought by others on behalf of an unnamed, absentee “deed holder”, who never took the case to court and was not present for the proceedings.

Such a case should not have been heard until the courts ruled on the issue as to whether a deed issued for land illegally seized from Israel is legally binding.

Until that is resolved, the residents of Amona must be allowed to stay.


For those wishing to help the people of Amona and get some of their award-winning wine at the same time, here is a link:

Here is a link to the video from Ari Fuld from which some of the above photos and information was taken:

Here is the link a video of Brian John Thomas’ visit to Amona, just prior to the residents’s decision.

Judea and Samaria — the West Bank of the Jordan

INTRODUCTION: To understand the present issues with regards to Jewish inhabitants in outpost towns in Judea and Samaria*, in the so-called “disputed territories”, requires some knowledge of the modern history of region.  This article provides that brief history.

*Judea and Samaria is know as "the West Bank" as it is on the west bank of the Jordan River.

The ancient and biblical history of Jews in the land is beyond the scope of this article — suffice to say that the very term “Jew” is derived from the region from which they originated, Judea.

In terms of timeline, this article begins towards the end of World War I (WWI) with British involvement in the geographic area known as Palestine.

[For information regarding where the term "Palestine" came from, please see Where is Ancient Palestine and Who are the Palestinians:]

Balfour Declaration and the Mandate System

Towards the end of WWI, in November 1917, the British government issued the Balfour Declaration in which it announced its intention to facilitate the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”.  The was the beginning of concrete plans for a modern state of Israel.

In 1920, the Mandate system was instituted by the League of Nations (forerunner of the United Nations) in order to administer non-self-governing territories. A nation granted mandatory powers by the League of Nations was to consider the mandated territory a temporary trust and to see to the well-being and advancement of its population.

In 1922, following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in WWI, the British were granted mandatory powers by the League of Nations to administer the geographic region of Palestine.  The British Mandate for Palestine included provisions calling for the establishment of a Jewish homeland, facilitating Jewish immigration and encouraging Jewish settlement on the land all of which built on the foundation of the Balfour Declaration.

However just a few months later, the League of Nations and Britain arrived at the decision that the provisions for setting up a Jewish national home would not apply to the area east of the Jordan River.

In 1923, under Article 25 of the British Mandate for PalestineBritish Mandate - Israel and TransJordan the first Arab-Palestinian state of Transjordan (later renamed Jordan) was created by the British, which allocated 78% of the land that had been set aside to be part of the reconstituted homeland for the Jewish people under the Balfour Declaration to an Arab state  and the British excluded it from Jewish settlement.

This left only 22% of the land for a Jewish state.

Judea and Samaria was included in this small piece of land destined for the Jewish State.

After the partition, Transjordan remained part of the British Mandate for Palestine, and Britain continued to be responsible for administering the land on both sides of the Jordan River.

The Arabs that remained living on the small piece of land earmarked for the Jewish state after the creation of the Arab-Palestinian state of Transjordan, attacked and killed Jews living there in an effort to drive them out and claim all of British Mandate of Palestine as Arab land. The Hebron Massacres of 1929 and the 1936-39 Arab Revolt are the most notable of these attacks.

In 1936, the British appointed the Peel Commission to find a solution to the violence, the outcome of which was a recommendation to partition the land under the British Mandate for Palestine, between Arabs and Jews.

In 1939, WWII began and shortly afterwards, the British issued a White Paper restricting Jewish immigration to British Mandated Palestine   just as thousands of Jews wanted to flee the escalating Nazi violence in Europe.  The British set a limit that a maximum of 75,000 immigration certificates would be authorized by the mandatory power to incoming Jews. The British hoped to appease the local Arab population by limiting the number of Jews coming into the region and with the US having also limited immigration of Jews, those being hunted by the Nazis had no place of escape.

The role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his 1941 meeting with Adolph Hitler certainly factors into the “big picture” as does al-Husseini’s role in the Middle East after WWII and leading up to the Six Day War, including President Abdel Nasser of Egypt’s intent to “destroy Israel”.

For more information, please see;

The Mufti and the Fuhrer ( 


Nazi Influence in the Middle East ( for more information]

Under the British Mandate for Palestine, the Jewish community that was already in the land, formed political, social and economic institutions that governed daily life and served as a infrastructure for the community. David Ben-Gurion served as its head.

In 1946, Britain unilaterally granted Transjordan independencecreating an independent Palestine-Arab state. This was the first “two-state solution“. In doing so, however, Britain failed to live up to its responsibility under the Mandate system to see the well-being and advancement of all of its population, Jews included.

Shortly afterwards, the British government, unable to manage Arab tensions and ongoing violent attacks against the Jews in the land, handed control over to the United Nations.

Partition-Plan-1947-235x300After much debate and discussion, in November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted on Resolution 181, which allocated half of the land that the British had set aside for the Jewish homeland under the Balfour Declaration for creation of a second Arab state — with the remaining half (mostly of which was in the barren Negev desert) for a the Jewish state.

This became known as the “Partition Plan“.

The Jews accepted the Partition Plan that would have given the Arabs all of Gaza and all of Judea and Samaria  — in exchange for peace with a Jewish state, but the Arabs rejected it. As little as 1/4 of the original land allocated to a Jewish state was still considered too much

Birth of the State of Israel

At 4:00 PM on May 14, 1948, just 8 hours before the British Mandate for Palestine officially terminated, David Ben-Gurion proclaimed the creation of the State of Israel and became its first prime minister.

The very next day the armies of all of the neighboring Arab states of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Trans-Jordan (now Jordan) and Egypt attacked the newly-created State of Israel, in an attempt to destroy it. This became known as the “War of Independence“.

By March 1949, at the end of the 10-month long War of Independence, Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem  were occupied by Jordan

On April 24, 1950, Jordan annexed both East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria — areas it had seized from Israel by military force in 1948. The annexation of East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria was viewed as illegal by most of the international community, including all of the Arab states.

In May of 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt announced his plans “to destroy Israel”. Given his documented, past affiliation with the Nazis during WWII, this should come as no surprise [see Nazi Influence in the Middle East, link above].

Nasser placed Egypt’s troops on Israel’s border, and after signing a treaty with Syria, placed the Syrian military under an Egyptian general. The armies of Egypt and Syria were mobilized to attack Israel.

Israel preemptively attacked Egypt and Syria but did not attack Jordan — asking instead for King Hussein of Jordan not to join the war. King Hussein did not have a good relationship with Egypt’s President Nasser (Nasser’s intelligence service had tried to assassinate the King multiple times), but when the rest of the Arab world lined up behind Nasser’s promise to destroy Israel, King Hussein of Jordan joined the attack.

Jordan’s decision to join this Arab allegiance to destroy Israel, despite a request from Israel that they do not, ended by Israel taking control of its own land that Jordan had occupied in 1948 and illegally annexed in 1950— specifically East Jerusalem and the land on the “west bank” of the Jordan River; Judea and Samaria

It was after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel reclaimed land that Jordan had seized from Israel, that East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (since dubbed “the West Bank”) became so-called “disputed territory” in the eyes for the International community, and Israel came to be called ‘occupiers’ and ‘settlers’ of their own land.

It should be noted that at no point from 1948 until 1967 did the international community ever view Jordan as "occupiers" of Judea and Samaria. 

The double standard is striking.

Israel is accused by the international community of not adhering to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 with respect to Judea and Samaria — a statute which outlines the obligations of an “occupying power” in times of war.  The Fourth Geneva Convention cannot be applied to Israel, as it cannot be an occupying powerin its own land — land it reclaimed from illegal annexation by Jordan.

The only “occupying power” in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention in Judea and Samaria was Jordan, from the years 1948 – 1967.

Final Thoughts…

Most obvious, Jewish inhabitants of outpost towns in Judea and Samaria cannot be “settlers” or “occupiers“. Judea and Samaria has always been part of Israel, both in ancient times (beyond the scope of this article) and in modern times.  The Arabs rejected the Partition Plan which would have given them all of Gaza and all of Judea and Samaria, in exchange for peace and rejected a similar offer in 2000. It seems apparent that any amount of land for a Jewish state is too much.

The Jews of Judea and Samaria have always been willing to live in peace with its non-Jewish inhabitants.

All the Arab inhabitants have ever needed to do is;

(1) recognize Israel as a Jewish state


(2) promise to live in peace with it.

It seems apparent from modern history that the Arabs do not want a Jewish state of any size that they need to recognize.

Struggle for Amona – the struggle for national sovereignty

Amona is an Israeli outpost village founded in 1997 in central Samaria (Benyamin region). Amona lies on a steep ridge, 70 meters above the closest neighboring village of Ofra, which is one kilometer to the west. Benyamin Region (where the Tribe of Benjamin originate from) is a mountainous area, 850–900 meters above sea level and has relatively dry and mild summers and cold winters — even seeing snow for several days each year.

Amona has a current population of 42 families, with a total of several hundred residents — most of whom farm the land.

Sheep and lamb farm in Amona (photo by Brian John Thomas)
Sheep and lamb farm in Amona (photo by Brian John Thomas)

Some in Amona  raise sheep and lamb…


baby lamb under heat lamp (photo by Brian John Thomas)







Amona Vineyard (photo by Joshua Wander)

…while others farm for fruit, including grapes and olives.

Amona is known for producing award-winning wine.

Award winning wine (photo by Joshua Wander)

In August 2016, the High Court of Israel ruled that the houses and vineyards of Amona had been mistakenly built on ‘private land’ and the ruling has slated Amona for evacuation by December 24 2016 – a little more than a week and a half away followed by bulldozing of the entire community — ending the livelihoods of the 42 families and their employees that live in Amona.

To understand the struggle for Amona requires understanding of the modern history of Judea and Samaria and whether it is even possible that Amona is built on ‘private Arab land’ 

We’ll touch on that history here.

Please see Judea and Samaria - the West Bank of the Jordan, our next article for more detail.

The land on which Amona is built was gifted by King Hussein of Jordan to a close associate of his during the period in which Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria (1948-1967). That period began on May 15, 1948, when the surrounding Arab nations of Jordan, Syria and Egypt attacked the one-day old State of Israel in an attempt to destroy it — beginning the 10-month-long War of Independence. 

At the end of that war (March 1949), Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied Judea and Samaria as well as East Jerusalem — having seized them from Israel, by military force. On April 24, 1950, Jordan annexed  both East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria which was considered illegal by most of the international community, including all of the Arab states.  At no point from 1948 until 1967 was Judea and Samaria ever considered by the international community as being “Jordan”.  This area on the west bank of the Jordan River was referred to as “the west bank” so as to distinguish it from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which lay on “the east bank” of the Jordan River.

In 1923, when Britain created Jordan (then called Transjordan) giving 75% of the land that had been set aside by the Balfour Declaration for a “national Jewish homeland” to this first Arab-Palestinian state — it left only 25% of the land on the “west bank of the Jordan” for the Jewish state. That is, the tiny remaining piece of land included Judea and Samaria something Jordan knew since 1923.

In 1948, when Jordan illegally seized Judea and Samaria, it had known for the previous 25 years (1923-1948), that it belonged to the future Jewish state and it knew that Judea and Samaria belonged to Israel when the State of Israel was created on May 14, 1948.

It was only after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel reclaimed its own land that had been illegally annexed by Jordan from Israel, that Judea and Samaria (“West Bank”) and East Jerusalem became “disputed territory” to the international community — and Israel came to be called “occupiers” and “settlers” of their own land.

Judea and Samaria has been part of Israel since biblical times and even in modern history, it was included in the land earmarked for the Jewish national homeland since the 1917 Balfour Declaration. Even after the first Arab-Palestinian state of TransJordan was created in 1923, Judea and Samaria was included in the remaining 25% of the the land that was for the establishment of the Jewish state.

partition-plan-jewish-virtual-libraryThat said, the Jewish people were willing as part of the 1947 Partition Plan to retain the small region of Galilee in the north and the large Negev desert area in the south, with the remainder going to a second Palestinian Arab-state — something the Jews accepted and the Arabs rejected.

The Arabs refused the 4,500 square miles that was offered to them, including Judea and Samaria and Gaza because the 5,500 square miles that would remain for the Jewish state was considered “too much”.

Even as recently as the year 2000, when Israel proposed trading land for peace by agreeing to give the Arabs of the region a sovereign state in more than 95% Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza —the Palestinian leadership responded by sending waves of suicide terrorists into Israel.  

Any amount of Israel remaining in Jewish hands is still “too much”.

The international community believes that Israeli towns and villages in Judea and Samaria  fall under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 — which outlines the obligations of an “occupying power” in times of war. Israel maintains that the Geneva Convention cannot possibly be applied to Israel with respect to Judea and Samaria, as it can’t be an occupying powerin its own land — land reclaimed from illegal annexation during the Six-Day War which Egypt, Syria and Jordan, started.

Struggle for Amona – Struggle for National Sovereignty


For the last 19 years, whoever has held “deed” to this land has been absent —expressing no interest in the land whatsoever, while these Jewish families have tilled it and caused it to become productive.

The struggle for Amona is a struggle for the rights of these 42 Jewish families who have built their lives and earn their livelihood (and the livelihoods of those they employee) from their labour.

The struggle for Amona is also the struggle for national sovereignty of Israel over her own land.

That land in Judea and Samaria was gifted by the King of Jordan to colleagues during the period that Jordan illegally occupied it, does not make the land the possession of those to whom he gave it. It was not the King of Jordan’s to give!

In almost any civilized nation, the recipient of stolen property does not become the “owner” of it — it remains the possession of its rightful owner.

Likewise, if stolen property is later sold, those who purchase it do not become the “owner of it” — it continues to remain the possession of its rightful owner. A person or people who buy stolen property anticipate that when it is returned to its rightful owner, that they will lose the money they paid for it, as well as lose the property itself.

The Jordanian king having given parcels of land in Judea and Samaria to Arab Hashemites colleagues that his Kingdom had illegally occupied and annexed from Israel does not make that land the possession of (1) these families (2) their descendants nor (3) anyone that may have subsequently purchased it from them.

While local Arabs may hold a “deed” to this, is about as significant as a having a “receipt” for purchase of a stolen car.

ruins of Amona (photo by Joshua Wander)

It expected that when stolen property is returned to its rightful owner, that the purchaser lose the money paid for it, as well as lose the property itself. While Israel owes them nothing, how would it be anything other generous for the Israeli government to pay fair market value to those hold “deed” to a land they have been absent from for almost 20 years, and on which the Jewish residents of Amona live?


UPDATE: Please see Ultimatum in Amona – rejected by residents!



Here is a short video created by Joshua Wander on Amona: