Over 200 ‘Reoccupy’ Homesh Overnight Monday

Israeli soldiers walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh on August 17, 2009. Homesh was one of four West Bank settlements that Israel evacuated during the disengagement. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90

Over 200 Israelis – including the large majority who were kicked out of their homes there in 2005 – overnight Monday alighted on the hill where the town of Homesh, in northern Shomron, once stood. Among those accompanying the once and perhaps future residents of a re-established Homesh was Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich.

The “reclaiming” of Homesh was part of an ongoing protest to urge the government to pass legislation canceling the disengagement in northern Shomron. The areas, including Homesh, was closed off to Israelis in the wake of the 2006 disengagement, which, along with the evictions of some 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif in Gaza, saw the evacuation and demolition of four Jewish towns in northern Shomron – Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim. Between them, the four towns had slightly more than 2,000 residents, but pressure has been building for years for a return of Israeli sovereignty to the region.

While the law will not re-establish the towns that were dismantled as part of the 2006 disengagement, it will allow Israelis to enter the area for hikes and other purposes. Currently, Israeli citizens are not allowed to enter the area, although a small yeshivah has been operating on and off in Homesh for several years, with the approval of the IDF. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has for months blocked the Ministerial Committee  for Legislation from discussing the proposal, and the Knesset from acting on it.

“There is no better way to demonstrate the desire of Israelis to return to Homesh than this protest,” said Smotrich. “We miss Homesh and realize it was a mistake to evict Jews from their homes there. Today even a little child understands how evil the decree of disengagement was, and how it needs to be fixed. We are here today to demand that from the Prime Minister and Defense Minister,” Smotrich added.