Settlers plan another protest at Homesh

Yesha says marchers will call for rebuilding of all evacuated settlements.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Settlers said Monday they planned to hold a mass rally - with government approval - on the ruins of the former West Bank settlement of Homesh, which was torn down nearly two years ago. The decision raised the prospect of another standoff between police and settlers at the former settlement. Police and army forces had to forcibly remove protesters who refused to leave the dismantled settlement during two similar events in recent months. Marchers next week will call on Israel to rebuild all evacuated settlements, said Yishay Hollander, spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria [Yesha], one of the organizers of the rally. While organizers are not encouraging participants to stay overnight - as some did in previous protests - he acknowledged it would be impossible to guarantee everyone will leave. "We can't remove every person, but the organization means to end this event before darkness and get down from the hill," Hollander said. Defense Minister Amir Peretz did not dispute the rally would take place in an interview with Army Radio, and said "if anyone is planning to spend the night, then we shall have to consider whether to allow them to protest." The Defense Ministry said a final decision on whether to allow the rally had not been reached. In March, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert permitted thousands of activists to enter Homesh for what was supposed to be a one-day rally. Hundreds of protesters defiantly stayed, beginning a three-day standoff that ended with police carrying resisters to nearby buses. The next month, army and police forces evacuated a group of up to 100 squatters who had re-entered the settlement, a hilltop community formerly home to about 230 residents.