Friday, 3 February 2017

Thinking of our Friends From Amona

Guest Post by Judith R. Simon

Friends, as many of you know, the people that I love fall into many categories of political / religious / financial / life choice / other. And I like it that way. Wouldn't life be boring if all my friends felt the same as I did on all issues? It enriches my life and expands my horizons.

That having been said, I feel it necessary to express some of my strong feelings about what happened this week in Amona, so that those of you who may feel differently than I do can at least understand why I am in so much pain right now.

The media presents the residents of Amona as illegal builders on Arab land. Many have expressed that they deserve what they have gone through, for building illegally on Arab land.

The truth is far more complex than that. 

Twenty years ago, the people of Amona built a small town in good faith, with government backing. Only recently did Yesh Din search out and track down Arabs who claimed ownership of .5% of the land on which the town was built (2 dunam out of 500 dunam -- half a percent!!!).

When a person builds in good faith on land which is later discovered to be partially owned (and a very small part at that) by someone else (who only claims it 20 years later at the behest of an organization with a clear political agenda), is it fair to forcibly remove him from his land, destroy his home, and then BLAME HIM FOR IT? ???

In several parallel cases in the Negev where Bedouins built on land that is 100% owned by Jews with indisputable documentation, the Supreme Court refused to allow the government to evacuate the land until proper alternative housing has been provided. My friends in Amona are living in a crowded dormitory, sleeping on bunk beds, sometimes a family with 6 or 7 kids stuffed into one room. Their homes are scheduled to be destroyed within the week. 

Twenty years, children born, full families raised, furniture, memories, food cooked and consumed, art projects hung on refrigerators, clothes hung in closets, paintings hung on walls, beds made, light bulbs changed, windows washed, children kissed. All this destroyed. All this life that was built and nurtured deemed wrong. 40 Jewish families uprooted and tossed out like yesterday's garbage. From their homes in Judea and Samaria. For what? Because they are Jews.

You may disagree with me, and that's your choice. But please understand my pain, and understand that the people of Amona are victims of a power struggle between elements of Israeli society, the Supreme Court, and the current government. They are suffering emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. They are in trauma now, going through tragedies created by others.

Please judge with mercy, not with vitriol.

Thanks and Shabbat Shalom.

P.S. Please comment, but please check your comments and leave out hatred or nastiness. Thanks.

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