On Friday morning, security forces demolished most of the Homesh outpost in northern Samaria. They were so thorough, they even destroyed the yeshiva’s water tanks to make sure whoever stays in Homesh would at least suffer a little (see image below). We covered the demolition earlier on Friday (Days After the Murder, Bennett Government Demolishes Homesh). Now we’ll tell you about the debate that was taken up on Monday by the Knesset plenum about the future of the “young settlement,” which is right-wingese for “illegal outposts.”
An outpost is an unapproved settlement established without a government decision, doesn’t have a city building plan, and therefore, construction there has been viewed as illegal by every government, left and right. In the past, the outposts were also called simply “hills,” but around 2018, the supporters of regulating the outposts to make them legal have been calling them “the young settlement enterprise.”
Of course, 95% of the planet see the status of the outposts as equal to the status of all the settlements, ie they are as illegal as can be. That’s the gentiles. But in terms of Israeli law, while settlements have legal status, the outposts are considered illegal.
Some support the regulation of the outposts in law, based on the fact that many of them were established with the help of some state agency and therefore cannot be defined as illegal. Nevertheless, as of 2021, these 100+ outposts are illegal, and therefore subject to harassment by the powers that be in government.
The Knesset Plenum on Monday evening held a personal debate on the “Planning and construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria and the prevention of the regulation of the young settlement enterprise.'” The debate was introduced in a motion by opposition MKs Orit Strock (Religious Zionism) and Ofir Akunis (Likud).
MK Akunis presented the summary proposal of opposition parliamentary groups Likud, Religious Zionism, and Shas, according to which the Knesset demands that the Prime Minister regulate without delay all the “young settlements” in a government resolution, as he had pledged to do. These parliamentary groups also demanded to prevent the evacuation of Homesh and to legalize it.
The proposal was supported by 50 MKs, while 59 lawmakers voted against it.
MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) presented the summary proposal of his faction, according to which “the settlement enterprise is an obstacle to peace and a war crime,” adding that “the desired solution is to evacuate the settlements, end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state.”
That proposal was rejected in a 9-98 vote.
MK Strock opened the debate, saying: “As I stand here today to talk about the young settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, I do not stand alone. With me on this podium stand some 25,000 men, women, and many children – about 12,000 children whose legalization is being delayed. [As such], they are being deprived of the most basic rights – the right to electricity and water, public transportation, proper roads, and Internet connection. They are deprived of all these rights even though Prime Minister Naftali Bennett promised them that he would legalize the young settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, in the first meeting of the government he would lead.”
MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint Arab List) said: “Recently, people have been using terminology that, in my opinion, is becoming kind of mainstream in the State of Israel. There are discussions on several categories: there is the settlement enterprise, there is the young settlement enterprise, there is the legal outpost, and there is the illegal outpost. We have to go back to the origins and speak in a language the world understands. Everything I mentioned is known in the world as settlements, and all settlers are an arm of the occupation; the occupation of territories that have been designated, since 1967, for the establishment of a Palestinian state. There is no state-owned land there and no Jewish-owned plots of land. It is all Palestinian land, and the settlers are sitting there, stealing the land, [attacking] the Palestinian public that lives on its land, and, in practice, committing crimes.”
MK Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Likud) said, “In the meantime, the young settlement enterprise has aged a lot, as previously mentioned. What is a young settlement? 15 years? 20 years? What is considered young? I believe that we, in the current Knesset – with all due respect to the fact that this Government looks more and more like an evacuation government rather than a government of change – must make every effort to put an end to this injustice. G-d willing, despite the evacuation government, not the government of change, we will succeed in leading the real change to legalize the young settlement enterprise throughout all of Judea and Samaria, and also [apply Israeli sovereignty] there.”
Following the debate, MK Ram Ben Barak (Yesh Atid) presented a summary proposal on behalf of coalition parliamentary groups Yesh Atid, Blue and White, Yamina, Labor, Yisrael Beitenu, New Hope, and Meretz according to which the matter would be discussed in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, “so that we will be able to ascertain how we can care for the residents of Judea and Samaria,” as MK Ben Barak put it. Later, he said that a meeting in the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee had been scheduled, and it would be held within a month with the participation of Government representatives. In light of this development, the coalition parliamentary groups withdrew the summary proposal.
And then, as we noted above, the security apparatus went ahead and demolished the young settlement of Homesh.