jewish settlers stands on a house Homesh in 2005 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The state intends to nullify the original 1978 military seizure order for the
land of the former Homesh settlement, a move that would return the property to
its former Palestinian owners.
The Justice Ministry notified the High
Court of its decision late Thursday, in response to a 2010 petition by the
Palestinian owners, who were represented by the Israeli NGO Yesh
This precedent-setting ruling legally closes the door on the ability
of settlers to rebuild the Homesh settlement, Yesh Din attorney Shlomi Zachary
told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night.
Homesh was one of four
settlements in northern Samaria that were evacuated as part of the 2005
disengagement plan, in which Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip and destroyed
21 Jewish communities there.
But while Israel gave up the Gaza Strip,
which is now ruled by Hamas, it held onto the northern Samaria section of Area C
where the four settlements, including Homesh, were located.
former settlements – Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim, have since been mostly
declared closed military zones, and neither Palestinians nor the settlers have
been able to access them.
Settlers who live in hope of rebuilding these
communities have over the years staged events at Sa-Nur and Homesh. During Passover, thousands of settlers and
rightwing supporters rallied on the Samaria hilltop where Homesh had been
located and called on the government to rebuild the settlement.
state’s decision, however, nullifies the legal procedures on the basis of which
the Homesh settlement was founded.
The land was seized for security
reasons from the village of Burka in 1978 for a Nahal Brigade. But instead of
using the land for military purposes, the settlement of Homesh was built
Changes to the law since then made it impossible for military land
seizure orders of this kind to be used to build settlements.
that 44 West Bank settlements were built as the result of land seizure orders
and that it was unclear to him, what impact, if any, this ruling would have on
The state on Thursday also told the High Court of
Justice it would weigh rescinding the order that declares the area of Homesh a
closed military zone.
Zachary said that he would continue to pursue the
matter of Palestinian access to the land.
“Thirty-five years have passed
since the land was usurped from its lawful owners,” Zachary said. “Eight years
have passed since the settlement of Homesh was evacuated.
regrettable that it has taken so many years for the state to decide to observe
the law and to return the usurped land to its owners. Our main concern now is to
ensure that the landowners will actually be able to reach their
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said it was an
The site of Homesh continues to remain part of Area
C under full Israeli control because it is viewed as strategically important, he