Former justice minister: Bennett and Gantz are wrong, Homesh settlement can stay

The Disengagement Law allows Jews to return to the destroyed communities under certain circumstances, says Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Former justice minister Tzachi Hanegbi pointed out in an official query to the defense minister that contrary to what the country’s top politicians and left-wing groups have claimed, the Disengagement Law — regarding the expulsion of Israelis from the Gaza Strip and parts of northern Samaria in 2005 — allows Jews to return to the destroyed communities under certain circumstances, and therefore the yeshiva in Homesh could remain untouched.

The current Likud MK, who is a lawyer himself, sent the parliamentary query to Defense Minister Benny Gantz on January 26 in which he stated the pertinent section of the law.

“The ‘Implementation of the Disengagement Plan Law, 2005’ gives the commander of the IDF forces in the Judea and Samaria area or the commander of the Central Command the authority to grant permission to Israelis to stay in the area from which the disengagement took place – including in the Homesh region,” he wrote.

He asked Gantz why such an order had not yet been issued by his office to the relevant commanders regarding the Talmudic academy in Homesh, given the Palestinian terrorist attack last December in which a student of the Har Shalom Yeshiva, Yehuda Dimentman, was murdered and others wounded.

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“The attack…requires the issuance of such a permit for the Homesh Yeshiva in order to make it clear to the murderers that terrorism will never defeat the State of Israel,” he wrote.

According to the law, all such queries must be answered within 21 days. Four months later, Hanegbi has yet to receive a reply, he told Susie Dym, spokesperson for Mattot Arim, a pro-Israel NGO based in central Israel.

“Unfortunately, the minister’s response is delayed,” he said. “And worse: Defense Minister Ganz has not yet given a permanent permit for the yeshiva, and even apparently intends to evacuate it.”

Mattot Arim was “shocked to hear Hanegbi’s bombshell,” Dym told World Israel News. “Gantz is taking the name of Israeli law in vain. Homesh is crucial, as from its heights, Palestinians will see everything from Tel Aviv to Israel’s power plant in Hadera.”

The defense minister told a meeting of his Blue and White party Monday that Homesh would be evacuated, since “Israeli law requires it.” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett echoed this contention the next day, saying that construction in Homesh is currently “illegal.” Neither one specified a timeline for the destruction of the yeshiva.

Gantz’s spokesperson did not respond by press time to a request from World Israel News for comment regarding Hanegbi’s statement.

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Left-wing members of the coalition have been clamoring for “the application of the Disengagement Law” for months. On Saturday, activists of the left-wing Peace Now organization tried marching to Homesh after threatening to raze it themselves, since the state was not doing its job in their eyes.

The Israel Police prevented them from reaching the settlement, saying their march was illegal. According to Peace Now, police also arrested the driver of a truck miles away that was hauling a bulldozer the group had rented, assuming it was headed to Homesh.