Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers block the entrance to Homesh, in northern Samaria, on May 28, 2022.

Anarchists from the Peace Now organization clashed on Saturday with Israel Police at the site of the former town of Homesh in northern Samaria after their attempts to march to the area were blocked by police.

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IDF Central Command issued an order prohibiting Peace Now anarchists from marching to Homesh, expressing concern for public safety.

Police confiscated a bulldozer and arrested the driver who was hired by the group in Rosh Ha’Ayin to forcibly dismantle the former town.

In addition, police blocked Peace Now demonstrators in Rosh Ha’Ayin from proceeding to Homesh, forcibly removing the anarchsts when they attempted to block the arrest of the bulldozer driver and refused to leave the area.

“In light of the real fear of harm to public safety and security, police detained three suspects” in Rosh Ha’Ayin, Israel Police said in a statement.

The Peace Now group was protesting the presence of Torah students at Homesh, which the leftist organization referred to as “Criminals’ Hill” in a vicious tweet claiming the right-wing activists were “peeing on the [IDF] Central Command.”

Far-left Meretz MK Mossi Raz added his voice and accused the IDF of “allowing violent settlers to march to the Homesh criminal outpost,” complaining the army did not allow a “non-violence peace march” to approach the area.

Raz failed to mention the anarchists’ attempted march was to include a hired bulldozer to violently dismantle the yeshiva and other structures in the town.

IDF Also Ordered to Evacuate Jews from Homesh
Right-wing activists had marched to the site on Friday to express support for the re-establishment of Homesh.

Just before the start of the Sabbath, Defense Minister Benny Gantz ordered the deployment of large forces of the IDF and Border Guard Police to also confiscate equipment and evacuate Jews from Homesh, Religious Zionism MK and faction leader Orit Struck reported.

“Personal equipment belonging to the yeshiva students was also taken, leaving them at the mountaintop site with nothing,” she noted.

In addition, she said, “twenty yeshiva students were evacuated from Homesh to Shavei Shomron, causing them to forcibly desecrate the Sabbath.” Struck questioned the operational necessity of the move.

Knesset Mulls Repeal of Disengagement Law
The Knesset is mulling a repeal of the 2005 Disengagement Law that led to the Israeli evacuation of all Jewish towns in the Gush Katif region of Gaza, and four northern Samaria towns – including Homesh.

A vote on the matter was scheduled for last Wednesday.

At the start of last week, a group of right-wing Knesset members visited Homesh to show their support for re-establishment of the town.

“The intensification of terrorism in northern Samaria must be addressed immediate,” Likud MK Yuli Edelstein said, adding that he supports rebuilding the four towns to send a clear message to terrorists.

During Wednesday’s discussion of the law, Yamina Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “We are doing all we can so that Homesh isn’t evacuated. The continued activity of the yeshiva there is symbolic and meaningful. The yeshiva there has been evacuated many times. We need to put an end to that and allow the students there to learn.”

Preliminary Reading of the Bill Passed Earlier
Earlier this month, the Knesset Plenum approved in a preliminary reading the Disengagement Plan Implementation Bill, with an amendment annulling evacuation clauses and changing the name of the law, sponsored by Likud MK Miki Zohar.

The bill proposes to change the name of the law to Compensation for Those Harmed by the Disengagement Plan Law.

The explanatory notes attached to the bill state, “The 16 years that have passed since that decision by the government, and the 15 years that have passed since its implementation, made a mockery of the disengagement’s objectives and have demonstrated, time and again, the failing points the plan was based on, its faults, and the severe damage caused to Israel’s security, Israel’s economy and Israel’s foreign relations.”

Rather than improve Israel’s situation, the Disengagement Plan resulted in a “fatal blow to Israeli reality,” the explanatory notes state.

The bill also discusses the “injustice that was done to citizens whose evacuation and uprooting was legalized by the law,” and proposes to “annul clauses in the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law, and thus expunge, to some extent, the national and moral stain […] on the State of Israel.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.