Knesset Repeals Disengagement Law

Activists carry a tent in the abandoned Jewish community of Chomesh, in the northern Shomron in 2007. (REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)

The Knesset on Tuesday repealed legislation that ordered the evacuation of four communities in the Shomron, one of the first major moves by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s new coalition.

The original law, passed in 2005, mandated the evacuation of four Jewish communities in northern Shomron along with the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. The repeal would allow Jewish residents to return to these sites on condition of approval by the IDF.

Canceling the 18-year-old law will enable settlers to inhabit Chomesh, where they established a yeshivah, once the military authorizes them to do so.

MK Yuli Edelstein, head of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, hailed the move as “the first and significant step towards real repair and the establishment of Israel in the territories of the homeland that belongs to it.”

The repeal’s third and final reading passed by a vote of 31 MKs to 18. Opposition MKs Gideon Sa’ar and Ze’ev Elkin of the National Unity Party were among the lawmakers who voted for the repeal.

The repeal does not roll back the Gaza disengagement of 18 years ago.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir praised the vote.

“The repeal of the disengagement law is good news for settlement. As someone who fought against it, I am proud to take part in the repeal of the law, the legalization of new settlements and the return to all parts of our country,” he tweeted. ”

The vote comes against the backdrop of an Israeli commitment to a four-month pause in approving plans for new housing units in Yehudah and Shomron.

This commitment was made at a summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday aiming to defuse tensions ahead of Ramadan. The Palestinian Authority agreed to a concurrent pause in unilateral diplomatic moves. The summit was also attended by US, Jordanian and Egyptian officials.

Ramadan begins on the evening of March 22.

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