Bezalel Smotrich, in his role as an adjunct minister in the defense ministry, tweeted Saturday night: “We promised to regulate continued Torah study in the Yeshiva in Homesh and we are keeping our promise. Following the annulment of the disengagement law by the Knesset, the IDF commander of the area signed a parallel order revoking the ban on Israelis staying in the Homesh and the annexation of the settlement to the territory of the Shomron Regional Council for a renewed planning of the yeshiva. Thanks to the Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant for his cooperation in regulating the yeshiva.”
One clarification: The State of Israel has not applied full sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and so, for Knesset legislation to take effect in Judea and Samaria, the IDF, which is the sovereign there, must issue a parallel order using all or some of the legislation.
Central Command Commander Yehuda Fuchs on Thursday signed an order allowing Israelis to stay in the Homesh settlement. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had ordered Fuchs to sign the order to repel a petition submitted by anti-Zionist NGOs to the High Court of Justice demanding the settlement be vacated so its lands be handed to Arab claimants. Fuchs also signed an order that assigns ownership of plots of land that are not claimed by Arabs to the Samaria Regional Council.
On January 1, 1978, approximately 173 acres were seized by the Army from the residents of two local Arab villages for military purposes (seizure order 4/78), and the area became the semi-military settlement of Ma’ale Nahal. It became a recognized settlement in April 1980. The seizure order was issued temporarily but was signed by the commander of the Central Command without an expiration date.
An internal military document sent to several recipients on April 24, 1980, read: “The intention: to turn the Ma’ale Nahal outpost into a civilian community while avoiding as much as possible any publicity, both to the locals and to the media.”
On August 23, 2005, Homesh was evacuated as part of the disengagement plan. The homes of the settlement were destroyed by the IDF and the ruins were moved away, except for the water tower. Basic infrastructure, such as sidewalks, roads, dirt roads, and stairs were also left in place. Homesh and Sa-Noor, located north of it, were the last settlements to be evacuated as part of the disengagement.
Thursday’s order was signed against the backdrop of American criticism of the repeal of the disengagement law, following which the Americans summoned the Israeli ambassador in Washington for the first harsh rebuke in 13 years. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman expressed her concern to Ambassador Mike Herzog about revoking the law.
The state will be expected to respond to the High Court petition in the coming weeks.