Knesset to vote on repealing Disengagement Law that makes Homesh illegal

The Disengagement Law passed in 2005, leading to the evacuation of Gush Katif and four Jewish settlements in northern Samaria.

 Visitors walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh on August 27, 2019. (photo credit: HILLEL MAEIR/FLASH90)
Visitors walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh on August 27, 2019.
(photo credit: HILLEL MAEIR/FLASH90)

The Knesset is set to vote on repealing the 2005 Disengagement Law on Wednesday that led to the evacuation of Gush Katif as well as four settlements in northern Samaria, including the settlement of Homesh.

Homesh was built on private Palestinian land. After the law came into effect, the High Court of Justice ruled that the Palestinians have the right to farm their land, which they have not been able to do because of Jewish settlement.

How did Homesh come into the spotlight?

The settlement was initially demolished in 2005 when the law first passed, but Israeli settlers quickly returned and rebuilt it. One of Homesh's central features is the yeshiva, which has been demolished a few times since then, but was routinely and quickly rebuilt.

Homesh and the yeshiva became the topic of much debate last December when Yehudah Dimentman was killed by terrorists while he was leaving the yeshiva. This brought attention to the fact that the settlement still existed despite the law saying that Jews cannot live there.

In February, the state announced that Homesh would be permanently evacuated but failed to name a specific date for the evacuation.

 A group of right wing MKs visit the Homesh settlement. (credit: THE ISRAEL LOBBY) A group of right wing MKs visit the Homesh settlement. (credit: THE ISRAEL LOBBY)

On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a Blue and White faction meeting that Homesh will be evacuated because it "cannot exist there, as a result of the Disengagement Law." Later that day, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid asserted his opinion that it must be evacuated, because "illegal places shouldn't exist."

We've had enough of talk and empty statements

Peace Now

"As long as you keep dragging your holes and don't evacuate the Homesh outpost of violence and robbery, we will go there on Saturday with a bulldozer and take it apart," Peace Now in response.

The left-wing organization made the same promise last week, telling Gantz in a letter that they would go last Saturday, but they did not go.

On Sunday, a group of right-wing MKs visited Homesh to express support for it.

Some political figures, like Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich, have encouraged Lapid and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to vote for the repeal of the Disengagement Law, while others even claimed that the four settlements demolished as a result of the law should be rebuilt.

"The intensification of terrorism in northern Samaria must be addressed immediately," said Likud MK Yuli Edelstein who claimed that rebuilding settlements there will send a clear message to the perpetrators of terror attacks.

"We are doing all we can so that Homesh isn't evacuated," said Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday. "The continued activity of the yeshiva there is symbolic and meaningful. The yeshiva there has been evacuated many times. We need to put an end to that and allow the students there to learn."

The Knesset vote to repeal the law is set to take place on Wednesday. If it passes, it could be the first step to establishing a permanent Homesh settlement.