Evacuees say returning to Homesh for good
Former residents of evacuated West Bank settlement, thousands of other right-wing activists plan to march on site despite defense minister’s warning; ‘Even if we will be evacuated we’ll return the following day, and after Independence Day we’ll begin working on the political front,’ organizer says
A year-and-a-half after their evacuation from Homesh, the former residents of the West Bank settlement plan on returning to the site on Monday along with other right-wing activists from across the country.
Homesh was one of four West Bank settlements evacuated in 2005, along with the Gush Katif settlements in the Gaza Strip.
Despite Defense Minister Amir Peretz’s warning that the IDF would prevent their planned march on the former settlement, the evacuees said they "are coming back to stay."
“Even if we will be evacuated we’ll return the following day, and after Independence Day we’ll begin working on the political front,” one of the march’s organizers said.
Homesh settlers during evacuation (archive photo: Aya Ben-Amos)
The organizers told Ynet that several hundred right-wing activists have already arrived at nearby settlements, where they plan to spend the night and then head for Homesh in the morning.
About a month ago the organizers sent a letter to Peretz and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in which they informed them of their plan to resettle Homesh, claiming the post-disengagement period has proven that the state was wrong to evacuate the residents of Gaza and parts of the West Bank.
In the past few days religious-Zionist rabbis have urged their students to join the march.
Violent clashes feared
The IDF will apparently allow the evacuees and their supporters, estimated at several hundred thousand, to make their way to Homesh but not resettle it.
Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, head of the IDF's Central Command, and Shai Region Police Commander Israel Yitzhak decided that hundreds of soldiers and policemen would be deployed to deal with the event, with the IDF supplying back-up forces if necessary.
Additionally, several barriers will be constructed around the former settlement, to hinder the movement of marchers.
The army fears the eruption of clashes similar to those that broke out between civilians and security forces in Amona or a possible attempt by right-wing activists to reach Homesh through Palestinian villages, which may result in violent incidents.
Consequently, the IDF decided to try and reach an understanding with the evacuees, according to which the marchers make their way to the settlement along the road connecting Shavei Shomron to Homesh or through the mountains with the IDF securing the trails.
The army estimates that the first group of evacuees will reach the former settlement at dawn, with most of the others expected to arrive at around noon.