IDF general revokes order barring Israelis from illegal Homesh outpost

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

People walk by the water tower on the ruins of Homesh, August 27, 2019. (Hillel Meir/Flash90)
People walk by the water tower on the ruins of Homesh, August 27, 2019. (Hillel Meir/Flash90)

The chief of the military’s Central Command signs off on an order allowing Israelis to enter an area in the northern West Bank where the illegal outpost of Homesh was established, paving the way for a legal settlement to be built there.

In March, lawmakers had okayed a rollback of legislation that ordered the evacuation of four northern West Bank settlements concurrent with Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The law repeals clauses of the Disengagement Law that banned Israelis from the area where the settlements of Homesh, Ganim, Kadim and Sa-Nur once stood.

Settlers have attempted numerous times to reestablish a yeshiva at the Homesh site illegally, with authorities having to demolish the structures.

Even after the repeal, an Israel Defense Forces order prevented Israelis from entering the areas.

Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox, head of the IDF Central Command, has now signed an order allowing Israelis to enter the Homesh area, and declaring it as part of the Samaria Regional Council.

The order is shared on social media by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who is also a junior minister in the Defense Ministry, which gives him broad authority over civilian issues in the West Bank.

“We promised to authorize the continued Torah study at the yeshiva in Homesh, and we are fulfilling that,” Smotrich says on Twitter.

The Yesh Din right group, meanwhile, slams the order, saying the illegal outpost is built on private Palestinian land belonging to residents of the nearby village of Burqa.

“The entry of Israelis into the area is another tool to dispossess the residents of their lands. The process of authorizing the outpost is a reward and incentive for criminals and a violation of international law,” Yesh Din says.

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