Settlers demand to populate illegal outposts and establish new ones following the recent terrorist attack on Homesh. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to do this?
A terrorist attack is a terrible thing. The members of MachsomWatch, mothers and grandmothers, regret the murder of Yehuda Dimentan near the Homesh outpost as well as the never-ending cycle of bloodshed in the West Bank. Two days after the attack, a group of terrorists was captured. This turned out to be a squad from the Islamic Jihad, whose members are not local residents.
I searched our website to try and make a sense of what's been going on in Homesh over the last few years. The MachsomWatch website contains many reports of incidents of harassment by the residents of Homesh perpetrated against residents of the Palestinian villages. These villages have been there for generations and it is on their private lands that the evacuated outpost was established.
While the outpost was demolished and its buildings raise in 2005, a military-sponsored yeshiva actually remained. Therefore, in practice, the settlement remains an illegal outpost that continues to exist and is funded by the State. This outpost prevents the access of farmers from nearby Palestinian villages to cultivate their land, and restricts their ability to move on the roads of the area. They are unable to get to work, to have access to their ancient places of worship, to nearby towns where medical care is available. Most importantly, the outpost is intended to serve as a growing physical wedge, and stop the natural development of Palestinian villages in the area.
The goal is to prevent a political solution that includes a Palestinian presence in the region. The violence of the residents of the outpost, which we have continued to document over the years, is a frightening addition, because it is backed by the power of the army and the GSS (General Security Services). This is an example of how one small outpost manages to take over a large area and embitter the lives of residents.
A recent Peace Now report shows that Jewish incidents of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank have a clear address - the illegal outposts. It was found that 63% of the incidents of violence documented by Yesh Din between 2012-2021 took place near the outposts where about 5% of all settlers in the West Bank live.
After the terrorist attack, The entire settler community acted immediately with the usual fervor of media messages. The attack was presented without any reference to many years of violent actions, daily abuse and takeover attempts that Homesh settlers have been carrying out. And of course, all the settler organizations and their emissaries in the Knesset stood up and demanded an immediate response in the form of increasing the population of the outpost, and granting permission to establish additional outposts. Hundreds of settlers tried to enter the Homesh area two days after the attack and engaged in violent clashes with security forces, some even succeeded and built temporary structures. The revenge on the Palestinians was carried during the following Sabbath in many places in the West Bank - in the camps south of Nablus, in Yitzhar and in Kiryat Arba. It seems that pogroms are more important than observing the peace of the Sabbath, as this has sadly been a common spectacle seen over the last years in other outposts in the West Bank. The rabbis always remain silent.
And we say: approving and populating illegal outposts and supporting them with infrastructure and defense by the state and the IDF is a disaster for the State of Israel. It destroys the possibility of a political agrrement for the two peoples, and endangers the future of every Israeli citizen who doesn't believe in the vision of the settlers - greater Israel mastered by Jews only.