Is Israel about to repeal the Disengagement Law in the northern W. Bank?

A legislation pending approval could mean that settlements will be rebuilt in an area that Israelis are barred from today.

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October 22, 2017 09:00
1 minute read.
Festival and rally at the site of the former Sa-Nur settlement in August.

Festival and rally at the site of the former Sa-Nur settlement in August.. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

 
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Political wrangling prevented the Ministerial Legislative Committee on Sunday from approving a bill that would repeal the 2005 Disengagement Law in northern Samaria that allowed for the destruction of four settlements there.

Should legislation be approved next week, it would move over to the Knesset for its series of three votes before it could pass into law.

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The bill would rescind the military order barring Israelis from entering the sites where Homesh, Sa-Nur, Gadim and Kanim once stood.

Right-wing politicians and settlers hope that the legislation would pave the way to rebuilding the four communities.

But the legislation hit a snag after a political fight broke out between Justice Minster Ayalet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) and coalition chairman MK David Bitan (Likud).

As a result, almost all private members' bills, such as this one sponsored by MK Shuli Muaelem-Rafaeli (Bayit Yehudi), were postponed for a week.

Mualem-Rafaeli said the time had come to pass the legislation.

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“This [2005] evacuation had no political or security justification, and the public understands this very well,” Mualem-Rafaeli said.

“There is not justification for barring the free movement of Jews in that area. This legislation is the foundation for the larger initiative to rebuild the four settlements,” Mualem-Rafaeli said.

In 2005, Israel unilaterally destroyed 21 settlements in the Gaza Strip and withdrew from that area militarily, handing it over to the Palestinian Authority.

At the same time, it destroyed four settlements in northern Samaria but retained its military hold on that land, which is part of Area C of the West Bank. Right-wing politicians and settlers have long argued, therefore, that only a lack of political will prevents the reconstruction of those former communities.

“After waiting 11 years, every extra minute is unnecessary,” said Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who is an evacuee from Homesh.

“It’s time to cancel the Disengagement Law everywhere and certainly in northern Samaria. The settlements are waiting for their residents to return. The roads, the electricity poles and the stairs are still there, as is the folly and the time has come to cancel that,” Dagan said.

In August, right-wing politicians held a political rally and a small festival at the site of the former Sa-Nur settlement, where they called on Netanyahu to rebuild the four destroyed communities.

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