MKs celebrate final passage of law repealing disengagement from northern Samaria

Repeal of the same law for Gush Katif is next, they say, in order to correct the “historical injustice” of forcibly evacuating thousands of Jews from their homes in 2005. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News  

Right-wing MKs celebrated Monday night’s final passage of the bill repealing the Disengagement Law for northern Samaria, saying it should lead to the eventual return to the major area forcibly evacuated in 2005 as well – Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.

Otzma Yehudit party MK Limor Son Har-Melech, who introduced the bill with the Likud’s Yuli Edelstein, touched on both issues in her Knesset speech after the vote, which passed 31 to 18.

“This is a day of endless joy over the historical correction we made here in the Knesset,” said the MK, who experienced the Disengagement personally, having been forced out of her home in Homesh, one of the four northern Samarian villages destroyed by Ariel Sharon’s government.

“After 18 years of deportation, destruction and persecution of anyone who wanted to return to the territory of the settlements that were evacuated and correct the injustice, today, the Knesset of Israel declares with a clear majority that the deportation and the law that constituted a disgrace to the people of Israel and trampled underfoot thousands of pioneering citizens are a thing of the past.”

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She not only called for the immediate re-establishment of Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim, but for the government to come up with a settlement plan “for the other vast areas of northern Samaria,” in order to “ensure Jewish control of this land.”

This would not be enough, however, she added.

“I say here today with a clear voice: Our vision is the complete cancellation of the Disengagement Law and the return to all the settlements that were evacuated and destroyed,” including the 22 that were destroyed in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip

“This is an inseparable part of the Land of Israel, the land of our birth, and we have the right and duty to settle there,” she said.

Edelstein, who was one of only a few MKs who consistently voted against the forced expulsion of over 8,000 Jews from their homes in 2005, posted a statement to social media saying in part, “The State of Israel tonight began its recovery process from the deportation disaster. This is the first and significant step towards a real repair and establishment of Israel in the territories of the homeland that belong to it.

“We shouted, we warned, and despite the political threats we received at that time, we voted against the Disengagement. We failed, but not without a struggle,” he added. “We gave up territories – we received missiles; now we will get life!”

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Edelstein, who is chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, also brushed aside a comment made by U.S. Ambassador Tom Nides to The Jerusalem Post ahead of the vote, saying that the Biden administration was not happy with the law.

“We have been very clear we oppose the bill,” Nides said, noting that the Disengagement had been part of an understanding reached between then-prime minister Ariel Sharon and president George Bush.

Edelstein commented that “the ambassador has my personal phone number and he never bothered to call because it is not an issue of major interest to anyone…not a single American official has spoken to any single Israeli official on that matter.”