IDF and police forces were dispatched to the ruins of the town of Homesh in northern Samaria on Friday evening, at the start of the Sabbath, to remove Jewish youth. Homesh was one of four Jewish communities in northern Samaria that were forcibly evacuated in the Disengagement of 2005. It has been off-limits to visitors ever since, although activists have maintained a nearly permament presence there for two years.
Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt, the head of the Birkat HaTorah Hesder Yeshiva in Shavei Shomron, called the violation of the Sabbath in Homesh a "shame and an embarrassment.” Rabbi Schmidt said, “These were actions unbecoming senior officers in a Jewish army. Whoever was in charge of the mass Sabbath desecration should be removed from his position. There are no words to describe the disgrace and humiliation.”
On Tisha B’Av, dozens of pro-Land of Israel activists at Homesh mourned the destruction of the Temple. “Spending Tisha B’av in Homesh was difficult but also encouraging,” activist Yossi Dagan said. “We are counteracting the destruction of Homesh daily through our return to the town,” he added.
In contrast to Gaza, where Israel handed control over to the Palestinian Authority, the area where the ruins of Homesh and Sa-Nur are located is still defined under the Oslo Accords as Area C, territory under Israeli military and civilian control.
The Homesh First organization, dedicated to reversing the results of the Disengagement, called the use of soldiers for the purpose of evicting squatters "a mafia-style, patently illegal" act.
IDF Justifies Sabbath Evacuation for ‘Security Concerns’
An IDF spokesperson stated late Saturday night that the Sabbath evacuation of the Homesh community was due to “security concerns.” The IDF spokesperson said, “Last Friday, several people went up to Homesh in northrtn Samaria, against protocol and orders and after the entrance of the Sabbath.”
The IDF furthermore stated, “In light of the danger of remaining in this area, and in order to protect them, a border police force was sent to remove them from the area.” The IDF noted that the group’s conduct endangered both the group and the border police, who were dispatched to remove them.