The Knesset is set to repeal today a nearly two-decade-long ban on Jewish entry into and settlement of four destroyed towns in the northern West Bank.
The bill would repeal the clauses of the 2005 Disengagement Law that ban Israelis from living in the area where the four former settlements of Homesh, Ganim, Kadim and Sa-Nur stood in the West Bank region of Samaria. The four settlements were the only West Bank settlements uprooted at the time of Israel’s unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip.
These destroyed towns have remained a symbol to settlement supporters and an irritant to Palestinian communities, which reject Jewish settlement in the West Bank in general and point to Supreme Court acknowledgment that at least one of the communities was illegally built on private Palestinian land.
The bill is being planned for its final Knesset readings at a tricky time. Yesterday, Israel — in the presence of US, Egyptian, and Jordanian officials — reaffirmed its pledge to the Palestinian Authority to refrain from advancing settlement plans for four months and from advancing the legalization of West Bank outposts for six months.
This promise was geared toward lowering tensions that often simmer during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, set to begin later this week.