Washington is “deeply troubled” by Jerusalem’s move to repeal the portion of a 2005 law that barred Jews from parts of northern Shomron.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed on Wednesday, March 22, the Knesset’s partial repeal of the “discriminatory and humiliating” 2005 Gaza Disengagement Law that expelled Jews from their “historical homeland.”
“The Knesset decision to repeal parts of the Disengagement Law brings to an end a discriminatory and humiliating law that barred Jews from living in areas in northern Samaria, part of our historic homeland. It is no coincidence that senior figures in the opposition have supported this law over the years,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “However, the [Israeli] government has no intention of establishing new communities in these areas.”
The Knesset voted 31-18 on Tuesday to repeal articles of the Disengagement Law banning Israelis from entering and residing in four communities in northern Shomron.
The 2005 disengagement led to the destruction and evacuation of the Israeli communities of Sa-Nur, Homesh, Ganim and Kadim in northern Shomron, as well as 21 communities in the Gaza Strip.
“There is no longer any justification to prevent Israelis from entering and staying in the evacuated territory in northern Samaria, and therefore it is proposed to state that these sections [of the disengagement law] will no longer apply to the evacuated territory,” reads the introductory text to the bill.
The bill’s passage erases “to some extent” the “the stain on the garment of the State of Israel” left by the disengagement, it continues.
Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog was summoned to the U.S. State Department on Tuesday, March 21 amid anger in Washington over the Knesset’s action.
Herzog was called for a meeting with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy R. Sherman, who “conveyed U.S. concern regarding legislation passed by the Israeli Knesset rescinding important aspects of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank,” according to a State Department statement. “They also discussed the importance of all parties refraining from actions or rhetoric that could further inflame tensions leading into the Ramadan, Passover and Easter holiday.”
Earlier on Tuesday, State Department spokesman Vedant Patel had strongly denounced the Knesset vote, saying Washington was “extremely troubled” over the development.
“The United States is extremely troubled that the Israeli Knesset has passed legislation rescinding important parts of the 2005 Disengagement Law, including the prohibition on establishing settlements in the northern West Bank,” Patel told reporters at a press conference.
He said the move was “inconsistent with Israel’s recent commitments to de-escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions. Just two days ago, Israel reaffirmed its commitment to stop discussion of any new settlements for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.”
The State Department spokesman appeared to refer to an agreement of Israeli and Palestinian officials in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on March 19. At the security summit, Israel agreed to “stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months,” according to a joint statement released by the State Department.
The March 19 statement added that both sides “agreed to develop a mechanism to curb and counter-violence, incitement and inflammatory statements and actions.” Although an Israeli man was wounded in a second Huwara terrorist attack as that agreement was hammered out, Patel did not refer to that attack, which seriously wounded an Israeli man, as particularly provocative and counterproductive to restoring calm.
In addition to rolling back the articles (23-27) banning movement into and out of, and residence in, northern Shomron, the Knesset amendment stipulates that Article 28 of the disengagement law, which canceled rights regarding real estate in vacated territory, will not apply to rights established there starting from the date of the bill’s approval.
The Israel Defense Forces must now approve a military order allowing Israelis to return to those areas.
By Jewish Link Staff and combined sources