Settlers are now demanding to cancel the disengagement out of four West Bank settlements destroyed in the framework of the 2005 Gaza withdrawal. REUTERS/Nir Elias
A protester walks along a corridor of an abandoned building at the evacuated settlement of Sa-Nur, West Bank, July 28, 2015.
“Thirteen years since the expulsion, 13 years of complete darkness in the razed Jewish settlements of Homesh, Sa-Nur and Kadim. Tonight, we turn on the light in Sa-Nur once again. We say: This place still belongs to us, we are committed to this place and to all the area around it.” This impassioned speech was delivered by Knesset member Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of HaBayit HaYehudi, on the ruins of the West Bank Sa-Nur settlement that Israel demolished in 2005. Sa-Nur was demolished as part of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, which included the disengagement from four West Bank (north Samaria) settlements. Some 200 former residents of Sa-Nur joined Moalem-Refaeli, arriving at the site under cover of darkness on July 24.
Moalem-Refaeli explained that Sa-Nur was chosen for the symbolic event because it was the farthest and least accessible of the four destroyed settlements. The effort to get there illustrates the settlers’ determination to resettle this land, she explained.
HaBayit HaYehudi lawmakers are hoping to nullify the 2005 Disengagement Law, the legal framework for the evacuation of Jewish settlements, also called the eviction-compensation law. The bill set out the compensation to those evicted from their homes and banned them from returning to the area, which was declared a closed military zone. The settlers who took part in the recent protest at Sa-Nur thus violated the law, with the support of Knesset members Moalem-Refaeli and Bezalel Smotrich.
Opposition Knesset member Saleh Saad, from the Zionist Camp faction, urged the Knesset Ethics Committee to punish the lawmakers who violated the law and caused 200 extreme right activists to do so as well. Anyone violating the law should be jailed for two years, he said, adding, “We are at a time of heightened security sensitivity, and such action could ignite a clash that would endanger many lives.” Smotrich responded derisively, “I’ve already spoken with my brother who lived in Sa-Nur and he promised to have Knesset member Saad over for coffee at his home once we return there.” The return to Sa-Nur, Smotrich added, “will be the first step toward our return to the settlements of the Katif bloc,” as the 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza were collectively called.
The settlers have launched a campaign in the Knesset and elsewhere to annul the Disengagement Law and rectify what they describe as a “historic injustice.” They have brought around two government ministers from the ruling Likud party, Knesset members Gila Gamliel and Haim Katz, and hope to mobilize the entire Likud party for what they have designated as a top national priority. The settlers are also trying to generate public pressure on Likud leader and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Social Equality Minister Gamliel termed the 2005 withdrawal “a tragedy” and appealed directly to Netanyahu: “We, as a national government, must pass a law annulling the disengagement from northern Samaria.” She defined the resettlement of the vacated communities as a national priority that the government and the Likud movement must implement.
Yossi Dagan, the head of the Samaria Council and a former Sa-Nur resident, claimed that most Likud lawmakers support an annulment, adding that the settlers would not give up until the Israeli flag flies over these settlements once more.
In 2005, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon focused his withdrawal plan on an Israeli pullout from Gaza, but he also decided to evacuate four West Bank settlements in order to placate the administration of US President George W. Bush. He hoped that by doing so he would ward off implementation of the American road map for peace in the Middle East designed to culminate in the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Sharon initiated the disengagement from Gaza in order to save almost all of the settlements in the West Bank. For the sake of that far larger goal, Sharon added the four small settlements in northern Samaria to show the Bush administration that Israel intended to focus on building West Bank settlement blocs rather than dispersed distant communities. The settlers of northern Samaria went quietly at the time, virtually without opposition. Most eyes were on the Gaza Strip Katif bloc, specifically on Kfar Darom, where settlers mounted a violent protest against their eviction.
What moved the settlers to renew their protest and demand a return to the Samaria settlements now, 13 years after the withdrawal? Activists at the campaign operations center told Al-Monitor that the desire to return to the homes from which they were uprooted never abated and claimed the protest had never stopped. This, however, is not exact. The operations center started its activity and the mobilization of lawmakers on the right only recently, sensing that in the prevailing political climate they could effect change in the law. They have also been encouraged to believe their goal is feasible by the supportive policy of the Trump administration, which has displayed a forgiving attitude toward continued Jewish settlement in the West Bank and the freeze in peace negotiations with the Palestinians. Pressure on the prime minister is thus expected to increase.
Netanyahu has proven vulnerable to heavy pressure by the settlers in the past, easily giving in to their demands. He is familiar with their current demand to return to Sa-Nur and the three other razed settlements. In early May, he met in his office with leaders of their campaign. He listened but did not make any promises.
The activists know Netanyahu well. They believe the prime minister is awaiting the right moment to accede to their demand, which has been gaining traction not only on the radical political right but also among many in his Likud party. There are numerous examples of such surrender on his part. In June 2017, Netanyahu announced his intention to push forward with construction of 300 housing units in the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Initially, he actually rejected the plan for fear of angering the US administration by expanding Beit El. However, after the settlers mounted protests, erecting a tent near his Jerusalem office, mobilizing HaBayit HaYehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett and former Likud minister Gideon Saar, Netanyahu folded and informed the head of the local Alon Council with great fanfare that he was agreeing to the demands.
Netanyahu also generally announces new construction in the West Bank after terror attacks against Israeli settlers. During the wave of terrorism that broke out in October 2015, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved construction of hundreds of housing units as a salve to the settlers.
Will the evacuees of northern Samaria return to the settlements they vacated? Based on current government policy, it’s safe to assume that the answer is “yes.” It will happen when Netanyahu can present his decision as a reaction to Palestinian terrorism rather than as an Israeli initiative.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration — which seeks to criminalize criticism of migration — is nothing more or less than a dangerous effort to weaken national borders, to normalize mass migration, to blur the line between legal and illegal immigration, and to bolster the idea that people claiming to be refugees enjoy a panoply of rights in countries where they have never before set foot.
One thing about the agreement, in any event, is irrefutable: almost nobody in the Western world has been clamoring for this. It is, quite simply, a project of the globalist elites. It is a UN power-grab.
The waterfront in the Chilean city of Valdivia. Photo: Arvid Puschnig via Wikimedia Commons.
Top Jewish groups have welcomed a Chilean government decision made earlier this week to ban municipalities across the country from boycotting Israel.
The ruling — issued by the Comptroller General of Chile – stemmed from a complaint filed by the Chilean Jewish community over a move of the Valdivia municipality to ban the city from signing contracts with Israel-linked companies.
Spurred by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s resignation and the realization that elections will likely be moved to early 2019, the leaders of the Druze community are determined to fight against the Nationality Law.
Leaders from the Druze minority and others take part in a rally to protest the Jewish nation-state law in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, Israel, Aug. 4, 2018
It certainly seems like Israel is headed toward early elections. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who resigned Nov. 14, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett were both part of the current right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, competing over which of them was its most right-wing member
Israel has started uncovering and destroying Hezbollah’s attack tunnels under the Lebanese border, but destroying the group’s ambitious precision missile project will be much more difficult.
The Israel Defense Forces placed a camera into Hezbollah’s secret cross-border attack tunnel before sunrise on Dec. 4. They pushed it into the Lebanese side, under the Blue Line that separates the two countries. At dawn, two Hezbollah operatives reached the spot on their morning rounds. In the video disseminated by the IDF on Tuesday evening, one of the operatives is seen approaching the camera with suspicion. He stuck his nose in its direction and started to sniff around until something exploded in his face and he ran back the way he’d comVisibilitye.
The timing of Operation Northern Shield, to destroy Hezbollah tunnels leading from Lebanon into Israel, suggests that considerations other than security were behind the decision to launch it.
An Israeli commando from Yahalom, an engineering unit, takes part in a tunnel-hunting drill near Tel Aviv, March 7, 2012.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Likud activists on Dec. 2 that was both defensive and combative toward law enforcement authorities. He complained about the supposedly suspicious timing of the police announcement recommending his indictment for taking bribes in Case 4000, coming as it did one day before Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh concluded his term in office.
This week, for the first time, Israel made public its discovery of the tunnel constructed by Hezbollah and reaching into Israel’s sovereign territory. This brought to an end a long period during which a large number of Israelis living in communities adjacent to the Lebanese border reported hearing sounds of digging as well as feeling tremors in the walls of their homes.
Attack tunnels are intended to allow for significant numbers of armed infantry bearing weapons, artillery and supplies, to traverse them within a minimal time span, avoiding Israeli lookouts and thereby gaining the element of surprise.
Last Saturday, Iran’s “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani called Israel “a cancerous tumor” in a speech at the regime’s annual Islamic Unity Conference.
Rouhani’s fellow speakers included deputy Hezbollah chief Naim Qassem and Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh. Both terror bosses called for the destruction of the “cancerous tumor.”
With the predictability of a Swiss clock, the Europeans rushed to condemn Rouhani. The EU in Brussels condemned Rouhani. The German Foreign Ministry condemned Rouhani. And so on and so forth.
We could have done without their statements.
It was clear that with the onset of Operation Northern Shield—meant to neutralize terror tunnels Hezbollah has constructed along the Israel-Lebanon border—some would call it a public relations stunt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Those who believe the timing of the police’s recommendations in Case 4000—announced on the last day of Roni Alsheikh’s tenure as the police commissioner—was reasonable, somehow complain about the timing of the operation.
On Sunday evening, December 2, the people of Sderot, Israel – a town located a mere kilometer from the Gaza border – gathered to light the first candle of the town’s menorah to commemorate the first day of Hanukkah. Jews around the world celebrate this holiday, which marks the time some two millennia ago when the Jews regained control of Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple.
What makes the candle lighting in Sderot worth mentioning is the fact that it is particularly symbolic of how the Jewish spirit looks for ways to turn tragedy into triumph.
This is obviously a short-lived honeymoon that will end the day after the UN General Assembly vote on the anti-Hamas resolution. The morning after the vote, Abbas will wake up to the realization that Hamas was a strange bedfellow indeed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s hatred of Hamas is far from secret. But Abbas is now defending Hamas because he despises the Trump administration, which has sponsored a UN draft resolution that condemns Hamas. Pictured: Abbas (right) meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on May 30, 2007 in the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Abu Askar/PPO via Getty Images)