DAVID BITAN seen at the Knesset last year.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Two right-wing lawmakers submitted a bill on Tuesday that would open the door for settlers to rebuild four Samaria communities that were demolished by the government during the 2005 disengagement program, most of which involved the Gaza Strip.
“The Israeli public understands in a painful way that the disengagement was a mistake,” said MK Shuli Mualem-Refaeli (Bayit Yehudi) who filed the bill along with coalition chairman MK David Biton (Likud).
It’s the second bill regarding Area C of the West Bank that rightwing lawmakers have attempted to advance since US President Donald Trump was sworn into office on Friday. Lawmakers have also tried to move forward on a bill to annex Ma’aleh Adumim.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has cautioned MKs not to take dramatic steps until after he meets with Trump in February.
The legislation must be approved by three plenum votes.
In 2005 Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip after demolishing 21 settlements there. It also leveled four settlements in northern Samaria – Homesh, San-Nur, Ganim and Kadim – but maintained military control over that territory. The area is considered a closed military zone and Israeli citizens cannot access it.
Lawmakers now want to rescind that order so that Israelis can enter that area, as a prelude to eventually rebuilding the settlements.
“There was no justification to sacrifice those communities and there is no justification to continue to prevent Jews from being part of that area,” said Mualem-Refaeli. “In the future we will be able to rebuild those communities so the residents can return home.”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who was evacuated from Sa-Nur, said, “We have waited 11 years from this moment and every additional minute is unnecessary. The time has come to rescind the disengagement law everywhere, and certainly in northern Samaria.”