IDF mapped out West Bank Homesh yeshiva for demolition, politicians warn

Settlers canceled a meeting with Gantz over the outpost razing and are planning a freeze.

IDF maps out West Bank Homesh yeshiva for demolition (photo credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL, YITZHAK WEISS)
IDF maps out West Bank Homesh yeshiva for demolition
(photo credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL, YITZHAK WEISS)

The IDF has already mapped out the Homesh Yeshiva for demolition as part of Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s push to create a Palestinian state, right-wing politicians warned as they called for the Knesset to convene a special session to discuss the matter.

Gantz is taking a step that will lead to the “de facto establishment of a Palestinian state,” said MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), who heads the Homesh First caucus.

Gantz is also “redefining the borders” of an Israeli state and changing the country’s strategic defense, said Edelstein, a former Knesset speaker.

He was one of a number of politicians from the Homesh First and Land of Israel caucuses in the Knesset who visited the Homesh hilltop in the West Bank, together with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan.

This destruction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria “must be stopped,” he said.

IDF mapped out West Bank Homesh yeshiva for demolition. (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL, YITZHAK WEISS)IDF mapped out West Bank Homesh yeshiva for demolition. (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL, YITZHAK WEISS)

The politicians toured the hilltop where the illegal yeshiva has been situated since the government in 2005 destroyed the Homesh settlement that was situated on that hilltop.

The IDF has demolished the yeshiva’s tents and huts numerous times over the years, but settlers have always quickly rebuilt them. The December terror attack, in which a Palestinian gunman killed Yehuda Dimentman, 25, as he left the yeshiva, has raised fears on the Right that the IDF plans a final demolition of the yeshiva.

In past months it has torn down illegal structures on the hilltop that served as living quarters for students and families attached to the yeshiva. It has also increased roadblocks in the area and placed heavy restrictions on access to the site.

Parliamentarians from both caucuses called on politicians from coalition parties to prevent the demolition.

“Do not turn a blind eye to the preparations for the evacuation... Exercise your influence today,” they said as they argued that demolition of the yeshiva rewarded terrorism.

Maintaining the yeshiva on the hilltop has special appeal for those who opposed the 2005 Gaza pullout and the demolition of the four settlements in northern Samaria, including Homesh.

Samaria Council Chairman Yossi Dagan said that in destroying the yeshiva the government has decided to punish the victims.

The resumption of Jewish settlement on the Homesh hilltop is legally complicated because the bulk of the land there belongs to Palestinians from the nearby Burka village. The High Court of Justice has recognized the rights of Palestinians to farm their land on the hilltop.

On Monday morning, border police, with the help of the Civil Administration, demolished the two small outposts of Moaz Esther and Baladim.

Some 400 police, border police, soldiers and civil administration workers took part in the enforcement action that targeted 20 structures, border police said.

In an attempt to prevent the demolitions, two activists allowed themselves to be encased in an iron and concrete contraption so that police could not remove them from the site. Police freed them and then arrested them along with four others who refused to leave the outpost sites.

Border police said that activists punctured the tires of a military vehicle at the Baladim outpost, and at Maoz Esther, activists pepper-sprayed one of the soldiers.

Some 100 right-wing activists and settlers clashed with security forces after the demolition, according to police, who charged that rioters threw stones at them, lightly injuring two.

Among the structures destroyed was a modular synagogue and home where Ahuvia Sandak, 16, was killed during a police chase in the West Bank in 2020. His father Avraham said that security forces had destroyed the synagogue built in his son’s memory and the home that he had constructed.

Abraham later tweeted his frustration that 42,000 illegal Arab homes in Area C were ignored, but that Israeli security forces had decided to go after the home of a “righteous child” built to express his love of the land.

Settlers have since begun to rebuild the outpost, which has been taken down multiple times.