settler girls 224.88.
(photo credit: AP [file])
Organizers of a planned Independence Day march to the former settlement of Homesh in northern Samaria by right-wing activists have vowed to go through with it despite the decision by the IDF to bar any such event.
In a message to the media, the IDF, which previously had approved the march, warned that "anyone attempting to enter or inhabit the area will be breaking the law." It added that police would take legal action against such citizens who were there without proper authorization.
However, Yossi Dagan, one of the march's organizers, told The Jerusalem Post that the march would continue as planned in spite of the IDF edict.
For the activists, many of whom are residents of the former settlements of Homesh and Sa-Nur, Tuesday's march will be the third such event. On Hanukka and again on Pessah, activists hiked to the site. Homesh and Sa-Nur were two of the four northern Samaria settlements evacuated under the Disengagement Plan in August 2005.
Dagan said the marchers planned to go there to celebrate Independence Day much like citizens would be doing in other places throughout the country. They plan to leave from the settlement of Shavei Shomron at 11 a.m. and arrive at the site of the former Homesh settlement by 1 p.m. The participants will then hold picnics and barbecues until 4 p.m., when a ceremony is planned. After that, Dagan said, the activists intended to leave the site.
Dagan, who himself is a former resident of Sa-Nur, said that marching to Homesh on Independence Day was the most natural way to celebrate the holiday. It should be a day to focus on resettling the land, Dagan said, and not just a time to hold a barbecue.
It was clear to him, Dagan said, that the disengagement plan was a mistake and that the settlers should be allowed to return both to Gaza and to the four evacuated Samaria communities.
He added, however, that there was a difference between the disengagement in Gaza and Samaria. Israel withdrew from Gaza, while Jews continue to live in Judea and Samaria. The area of the four settlements remains in Israeli hands, but the sites are now manned by the army and not the settlers.
Any Jew in Israel should be allowed to go there, the same way they could visit Tel Aviv and Ra'anana, Dagan said. "We think that Homesh is just as much a part of Israel as these places are," said Dagan.