Cancellation of Disengagement Law for northern Samaria passes preliminary reading

The bill’s proponents called it a ‘historic moment,’ as it will allow the four settlements destroyed there in 2005 to be rebuilt.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A bill cancelling the Disengagement Law for northern Samaria passed its initial reading in the Knesset Wednesday 62-36, clearing the first hurdle in allowing the four settlements destroyed there in 2005 to be rebuilt.

Technically, the law revokes eight clauses that forbade any entry or stay in Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim, which were forcibly evacuated and leveled by the Israeli government as part of its larger removal of all Jews from the Gaza Strip.

The yeshiva that had stood in Homesh was reconstituted by national religious rabbis in temporary buildings that have repeatedly been taken down by Israeli authorities over the years. After a student there, Yehuda Dimentman, was murdered in a drive-by shooting as he and others were driving home in December 2021, his family called for the re-legalization of the settlement as a proper response to the terrorism.

Yehuda’s father was in the plenum for the vote, as was Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who is an expellee from Sa-Nur.

Right-wingers in Israel have long claimed that the entire expulsion was a disaster for Israel’s security. Hamas seized Gaza in a violent coup shortly thereafter, giving it a huge base from which it constantly attacks Israel, while leaving critical areas in Samaria led to an upsurge of terrorism that has yet to end.

Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) proposed the bill along with Minister of National Missions Orit Strock (Religious Zionist party) and MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit). Son Har-Melech was evicted from Homesh during the Disengagement and founded an organization called Homesh First that sought to rebuilt the village.

Edelstein told Israel National News that terrorism stemming from this area worries the government “most” out of all of Judea and Samaria, but that is not the only problem.

“Over time, where there is no settlement and no civilian population, it is very difficult to maintain effective control over the territory,” he said, and the “scheming enemy,” as he called the Palestinian Authority, is taking advantage.

“With the encouragement and support of the European Union, the Palestinians are taking bites out of Area C and establishing facts on the ground,” he said. “Once they manage to establish a fact – it is very difficult to change it.”

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“The solution is to settle in Judea and Samaria,” he continued. “We need to return and lead construction in all the regions of the homeland, and provide the infrastructure for the residents who determine with their bodies and homes the borders of the State of Israel.”

Strock called the passage of the law a “historic moment,” as “for the first time, the State of Israel is working to erase the stain of the Disengagement from its laws and gives respect to the heroes of Homesh for their many years of struggle.”

Dagan, who also called the day “historic,” said he had “no words to describe the excitement.”

“This is a day for which we have been waiting for 18 years to correct an injustice and folly,” he said. “We expect the government and the Knesset to complete the task until the law is fully passed because that is what the government was formed for.”

The bill will go to an as-yet undesignated Knesset committee for final polishing before being returned to the plenum for its next readings.