The resistance to Jews living in Judea and Samaria is ideological as we’ve said many times. There’s no shortage of space, especially north of Jerusalem (where Amona sits) the hills are largely empty. While Jews in those areas live mostly in humble and some would say shabby homes, you can see some astonishing Arab homes out there.
The following video shows you Arab homes built in Samaria. These homes are visible from Route 60 when one drives to reach Amona and Ofra. There’s a Hebrew voiceover about the phenomenon of so many Arabs leaving the area but maintaining palatial holiday homes. The video also contains some interviews with these ex-pat Arabs in English. I’ll put a version of the accompanying story below.
I agree with the gentleman getting a shave: it is easier for both Jews and Arabs to make a living in the US or outside of Israel. Making money in this country is hard. You’ve got to be pretty lucky to be able to afford houses like that based on what you can earn in Israel. I’m sure these people also feel an affinity to this land: but there is nothing like the 3000 years of Jewish connection to Israel in their history.
Jews are returning to Israel, even from a more comfortable life in the USA or elsewhere. The pull of being and living and breathing an indigenous life is very strong and helps overcome the discomforts and deprivations of giving up the relative financial ease of living elsewhere. This is something, perhaps, those more distant from religion and belief don’t understand. The power of living a life that’s been in our souls for millennia is incredibly rewarding, way beyond a new BMW or a fancy house.
You can read more:
Media reports about the Arab struggle to retrieve the lands of Amona has been presented by politicians and the media as part of an Arab tradition of loyalty to their land.
Indeed, one of the Arab claimants against the Amona community has been quoted as saying, “If your child dies, you can make another one in his place, but land that you sold cannot be replaced.”
And yet, a report in Friday’s Makor Rishon suggests reality on the ground in Judea and Samaria reflects a somewhat different set of values. Local Arabs may not be willing to sell their land, but many of them don’t live on said land either, preferring instead to emigrate to the US.
According to reporter Assaf Gibor, Route 60, which runs from Afula, on Israel’s side of the “green line” through Jenin, near Shechem, through Ofra and outside Ramallah to Jerusalem and then through Gush Etzion, past Hebron all the way to Be’er Sheva, features ghost villages on either side of the highway. The Jewish settlers of Ofra and Amona have been wondering what has happened to neighboring Arab villages such as Silwad, three miles from the main road and about 8 miles north-east of Ramallah. A visitor happening inside the village can see numerous, luxurious villas, that are deserted.
Gibor, who describes those empty homes as “white elephants,” met in Silwad a man in his 79s named Salah, who sat with him over a cup of coffee and revealed that he’s been living in Puerto Rico for 52 years. Having left in 1964, before the Israeli liberation of 1967, Salah got his BA in Puerto Rico and MA in Tennessee, and now he is retired and living off his rental property on the island. His children were born in the US, one is a lawyer, the other a pharmacist, both Harvard graduates. Sadly, they’ve only visited the old country once – but both speak Arabic.