Israelis march to West Bank's Homesh, amid tensions with Palestinians

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that "the thousands who came here today, did so to give a message to the government. Don't touch Homesh." 

 Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other right-wing politicians attend a demonstration at the West Bank settlement of Homesh (photo credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL)
Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich and other right-wing politicians attend a demonstration at the West Bank settlement of Homesh
(photo credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL)

Thousands of right-wing activists marched Tuesday to Homesh to stake their claim to the remote West Bank hilltop that Israel abandoned 17-years ago, despite heavy criticisms from the Left for stoking tensions with the Palestinians.

"We came to commit to settling all areas of the Land of Israel," said MK Bezalel Smotrich.

Those at the march demanded that the government authorize the Homesh yeshiva, which is illegally located on the hilltop and to rebuild the Homesh settlement that was destroyed in 2005 after the Gaza pullout.

Smotrich, who heads the Religious Zionist Party, is among those politicians who want to see an all right-wing government replace the existing coalition made up of parties on the Right, Center, and Left of the political map, including the Israeli-Arab party Ra'am. 

"I have no expectations from this government that has surrendered to Islam," said Smotrich.

A march makes its way by the West Bank settlement of Homesh (Credit: Samaria Regional Council)

The Homesh march sparked clashes at the entryways to the Burqa and Bazaria villages in northern Samaria, in which scores of Palestinians were injured, including 11 with rubber bullets, according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Settlers and the Right have been braced for the IDF to evacuate the yeshiva.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said that "the thousands who came here today, did so to give a message to the government. Don't touch Homesh." 

The IDF "must stop with the evictions and the checkpoints," he said adding that the "nation is with Homesh" and pledged "we will rebuild it" along with the settlement of Sa-Nur which was also destroyed in 2005.

"A government that abandons both the Negev and Homesh will be replaced with a government worthy of the people of Israel - a full right-wing government," Dagan said.

MK Idit Silman (Yamina) who sparked a political crisis when she resigned from the coalition earlier this month, also participated in the march.

Other participants in the march included relatives of terror victims from Homesh, including yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman, 25, who was killed by a Palestinian gunman in December, and  Shalom "Shuli" Har-Melekh, 25.

  Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Yamina MK Idit Silman and other right-wing politicians attend a demonstration at the West Bank settlement of Homesh (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL) Otzma Yehudit MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, Yamina MK Idit Silman and other right-wing politicians attend a demonstration at the West Bank settlement of Homesh (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL)

A resident of the former Homesh settlement, Har-Melekh was killed by a Palestinian gunman in a drive-by-shooting near Ramallah in 2003.