All Israel
U.S. - Israeli Relations

US says legalizing Homesh outpost is a violation of Israel's commitment to the Biden administration

Condemnation of efforts to legalize Homesh outpost in West Bank continues

Israeli soldiers guard at the outpost of Homesh, in the West Bank, on May 29, 2023. Photo by Flash90

A new yeshiva institution was set up in Homesh, an illegal settlement outpost located in Samaria, late on Sunday night and early Monday, as part of the Israeli government’s plans to legalize the settlement.

Several government ministers praised the construction of the yeshiva – a traditional Jewish educational institution focused on the study of Rabbinic literature – however, it had not obtained a building permit from Israel’s Civil Administration beforehand and, therefore, is considered illegal under Israeli law.

The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria is the authority responsible for planning and construction in the West Bank region.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said the establishment of the new yeshiva was a “historic and moving moment,” while Negev, Galilee and National Resilience Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf, said the government would “continue to work to legalize the settlement, strengthen it, and develop it.”

The building of the yeshiva was also conducted with the support of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who reportedly was pushing for construction to go ahead on Sunday night.

Homesh was originally evacuated during the Gaza disengagement in 2005, under Israel’s Disengagement Law, in order to enable the creation of a Palestinian state in the Judea and Samaria region, also known as the West Bank.

However, the Knesset passed a bill in March, that revoked parts of the law that relate to Homesh and three other settlements, thereby paving the way for a legalization of the outpost. Earlier in May, IDF Central Command Chief Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs signed an order allowing Israelis to re-enter the illegal outpost and last week, defense forces lifted the military order against Israelis residing in Homesh itself.

While the yeshiva was constructed on what Israel considers to be public land, the Yesh Din organization, which represents Palestinians in the area, claimed the new yeshiva would prevent local Palestinians access to their land, as the yeshiva was constructed on land surrounded by partly privately-owned Palestinian land.

“Moving the Homesh yeshiva constitutes a sin on top of a crime,” the Yesh Din organization said. “The new location of the yeshiva still will not allow access for Palestinian landowners to their land, and continues their expulsion from the land. Instead of immediately evacuating the outpost, Israel is rewarding criminals and trespassers.”

A previous temporary yeshiva was reportedly located on private Palestinian land, which Palestinian landowners from the village of Burqa fought against in the Israel’s High Court of Justice, which ruled in their favor, according to the Times of Israel. The decision was not implemented by Israel.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan called the construction of the new yeshiva a correction of a “terrible injustice.”

“This is a historic moment, [and we are] a few steps away from correcting the terrible injustice of the deportation in Homesh,” said Dagan. “Since the expulsion we have been working day and night to rectify the injustice that is not only personal to the expellees but to the entire people of Israel.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department again condemned the Israeli government’s attempts to legalize the Homesh outpost, saying that it contradicted Israel’s recent commitment to the U.S. Biden administration, probably referring to an agreement in March at a summit in Egypt to freeze the legalization of illegal outposts for six months.

“We are deeply troubled by the Israeli government’s recent order that allows its citizens to establish a permanent presence in the Homesh outpost in the northern West Bank,” the State Department said in a statement. “It is inconsistent with both former prime minister Sharon’s written commitment to the Bush administration in 2004 and the current Israeli government’s commitments to the Biden administration.”

“The expansion of settlements undermines the geographic viability of a two-state solution, exacerbates tensions, and further harms trust between the parties,” the statement added. “This is consistent with the views of previous administrations, both Democratic and Republican. We regularly engage with Israeli officials on this issue and will continue to do so.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

All Israel
Receive latest news & updates
    A message from All Israel News
    Help us educate Christians on a daily basis about what is happening in Israel & the Middle East and why it matters.
    For as little as $5, you can support ALL ISRAEL NEWS, a non-profit media organization that is supported by readers like you.
    Donate to ALL ISRAEL NEWS
    Popular Articles
    Latest Stories