Representatives of the Israeli government informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that the illegal outpost of Homesh in the northern West Bank will eventually be evacuated but that no date has been set. Therefore, the state said, the court does not need to intervene in the matter, arguing it is up to the defense minister to set the date.
Homesh, built on private Palestinian land, was evacuated during the disengagement in 2005. Since then, the Disengagement Law has banned Israeli entry to the site. However, Israelis are there all the time and prevent Palestinians from reaching the site.
On Wednesday, the court heard a petition by attorney Shlomi Zacharia, representing the human rights group Yesh Din, demanding that the state enforce the law and allow Palestinians access to the site.
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A yeshiva has been operating at Homesh for several years. The authorities evacuated the site every now and then, but the residents would return. However, Defense Minister Benny Gantz removed neither the illegal yeshiva buildings nor the squatters violating the Disengagement Law since a terror attack in December 2021 in which yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman was murdered. There is a military outpost at the site, which did not exist before the murder. The state’s representative told the court that it was enforcing the law at the site. They cited a few instances in which authorities prevented Israeli access, as well as one case when they confiscated solar panels. Since the murder, the army has allowed a few Israelis connected to the yeshiva to remain at the site permanently.
Human rights group Yesh Din responded: “The state continues its foot-dragging and refuses to carry out its legal and moral obligation, which is to evacuate the outpost built illegally on private land belonging to the village of Burqa. The expulsion of Palestinians and the stealing of their land must end. Every day that passes increases the injustice and rewards lawbreakers. The defense minister and the prime minister, like their predecessors, prove that the rule of law will always take second place in the face of political interests and appeasing the settlers. The Supreme Court must bring them back into line by a clear judicial ruling that expresses its displeasure at this conduct, which is a complete infraction of the law and infringement of Palestinian rights.”