Right-wing Israel MKs threaten to bring down gov’t if illegal settler outpost is dismantled

Middle East Monitor  /  May 25, 2022

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina Party has threatened to bring down his coalition government if it goes ahead with evacuating the illegal settlement of Homesh, north of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

This comes after Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in a Blue and White faction meeting on Monday that Homesh will be evacuated because it “cannot exist there, as a result of the Disengagement Law.”

In response, a coalition official told Ynet News today, that if Gantz does not appeal the decision of the Supreme Court and goes ahead with the evacuation, the right-wing members of the coalition will have no choice but to resign from the government.

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked and Member of the Knesset Nir Orbach from the Yamina Party, have contacted Gantz ahead of his appeal to the court, which has to be submitted next week.

According to Ynet, Orbach has said behind closed doors that evacuation of the settlement would be a “red line” for the right-wing elements in the government.

Israeli NGO Peace Now said that there are around 666,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in 145 settlements licensed by the Israeli government, but illegal under international law. There are also 140 settlement outposts, which are illegal under both international and Israeli laws.

In 2005, the Israeli government under the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated settlers from Homesh, along with settlers in the Gaza Strip and five other settlements and military bases near Jenin, as part of its unilateral disengagement plan.

Since then, the Israeli security forces have closed off the area from the Palestinians who own the land. Settlers have maintained their presence, however, establishing a makeshift settlement outpost in contravention of Israeli law.