update desk

Knesset mulls permitting Israeli return to evacuated Samaria settlements

Bill aims to pave way for Israelis to return to four northern Samaria ‎settlements evacuated as part of 2005 disengagement • Pullout failed to achieve its stated aim of ensuring better ‎security, and better political and demographic reality, bill states.

The Jewish outpost of Amona in the West Bank. Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90.
The Jewish outpost of Amona in the West Bank. Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90.

The Knesset was set to debate a bill on Sunday that aims to lift the existing ban preventing Israelis from entering areas in ‎northern Samaria from which Israel pulled out as ‎part of the 2005 disengagement.‎

In 2005, Israel evacuated all Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip—21 in all—and four settlements in Samaria. After the four settlements—Kadim, Ganim, ‎Homesh and Sa-Nur—were evacuated, Israelis were barred from ‎traveling there.‎

A new bill, sponsored by Habayit Hayehudi Knesset member Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli and backed by several coalition ‎members, calls for the lifting of this restriction.‎

‎“Despite the expulsion of the Jewish residents from ‎northern Samaria, no change has taken place with ‎respect to the status of the area or the military presence on the ground,” states the bill. “Therefore, it makes sense that reverting back to before the disengagement will begin in northern ‎Samaria.”

‎“To this end, it is proposed to annual the ‎prohibition placed on the entry of Israeli citizens ‎to the area and allow the Jewish settlers to return to ‎the settlements from which they were uprooted,” the ‎bill says. ‎

The bill reasons that “the purpose of the ‎‎2005 disengagement was to facilitate a better ‎security, political, economic and demographic ‎reality, but the situation on the ground has proven ‎it created the opposite.”

Habayit Hayehudi has introduced similar bills in the past, all of which were shelved by ‎the coalition itself.‎

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