A new era? US summons Israeli ambassador over Disengagement Law repeal

“We have no problem clarifying to the U.S. in every conversation in which we are invited that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” said Likud MK Dan Illouz.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Biden administration summoned Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog over a recently passed law repealing the 2005 disengagement from Samaria, in an unusual diplomatic move signaling major disapproval from Washington.

During a meeting with Herzog at the State Department, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman expressed “concern regarding legislation… rescinding important aspects of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank,” according to a statement from her office.

Sherman also discussed “the importance of all parties refraining from actions or rhetoric that could further inflame tensions leading into the Ramadan, Passover, and Easter holidays.”

Herzog’s summoning came after blistering statements regarding the legislation from State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel. He said the Biden administration was “extremely troubled” by the “particularly provocative” legislation, and that Israel had violated long term understandings between Washington and Jerusalem.

“We have no problem clarifying to the United States in every conversation in which we are invited that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” wrote Likud MK Dan Illouz, a supporter of the bill, on Twitter.

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“They are welcome to invite us to clarify this at any time. We are available and happy to do so.”

National Unity MK and former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning with 103FM that “the last summoning of an Israeli ambassador for clarification was many, many years ago, as far as I know.”

He said that Herzog’s summoning “indicates the magnitude of the government’s violation as perceived by the Americans” and that “it will take a very long time to rebuild and restore the damage to the relations and trust between Israel and the U.S.”

In 2005, the Disengagement Law saw 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip evacuated, along with the dismantling of the towns of Sa-Nur, Homesh, Ganim and Kadim in northern Samaria.

On Tuesday, the Knesset voted 31-18 to repeal specific passages of the Disengagement Law, which barred Israelis from those four communities in Samaria. The vote has no effect on Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza.

While repealing of the law technically paves the way for settlers to return to those communities in Samaria, it may be that the legislation will serve as a symbolic victory for its proponents, without affecting the reality on the ground.

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The northern Samaria communities will remain closed military zones, and IDF approval would be needed in order for resettlement and rebuilding to occur – something which currently is not on the agenda and has no public timeframe.