Amona, West Bank, evacuees await new settlement with hunger strike

Evacuees of the demolished outpost of Amona, West Bank, angry that a promised new settlement is not available, announced a hunger strike.

Although the sign in Amona, West Bank, read "For Amona there will be war," court-ordered demolition of the Jewish settlement began in February. Displaced residents, angered that a new settlement, promised them by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is not ready, announced a hunger strike. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
Although the sign in Amona, West Bank, read “For Amona there will be war,” court-ordered demolition of the Jewish settlement began in February. Displaced residents, angered that a new settlement, promised them by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is not ready, announced a hunger strike. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

The demonstration began Thursday outside the Jerusalem residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who former Amona residents say is slow to arrange construction of the new settlement.

Amona, home to about 400 people, was one of dozens of Jewish outposts built in the West Bank, until it was discovered that it was illegally built on Palestinian-owned land. After two years of political and judicial maneuvers, Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered Amona demolished. The settlement was evacuated in February after promises by Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett that a nearby settlement would be erected for Amona’s population.

The protesters are angered that Netanyahu is slow to have the new settlement built.

“We feel like Netanyahu is just leading us on,” said Tamar Nizri, an Amona settler.

The protesters said Thursday that a representative of the prime minister’s office contacted them with an assurance Netanyahu has not back down from his promise.

“At first they told us to wait because [U.S. President] Donald Trump had just taken office. After that, they told us to wait until Netanyahu met with him, and after the meeting, they just claimed that it’s not so simple and waited for us to give up. They hoped the public will forget. We have no intention of giving up and the public never forgets,” said Avichai Buaron, leader of the Amona group.

Buaron added the group is willing but reluctant to sue to get its agreed-upon new settlement.

“This agreement, if presented in court, will force the state to keep their word. We do not want to bring the prime minister to the stand,” Buaron said.

By Ed Adamczyk