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      Arabs Demand Land of Former Jewish Community

      The Arabs are demanding that Israel hand over the land on which the Jewish community of Homesh sat.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 7/14/2011, 4:44 AM / Last Update: 7/14/2011, 7:44 AM

      Flash 90

      The Arabs are demanding that Israel hand over the land of the former Jewish community of Homesh, Israel’s Channel 10 reported on Wednesday.

      The residents of Homesh were forcefully evicted from their homes in August of 2005, during the Ariel Sharon government’s disastrous disengagement plan. It was resettled in 2007 by Homesh First, a grassroots movement that has set as its goal the rebuilding of the town of Homesh as a first step in rectifying the damage of the disengagement plan.

      The community was evacuated again by IDF forces in 2009.

      According to the Channel 10 report, Israel was supposed to return the land to the Palestinian Authority after the 2005 eviction but Israel’s defense system - not just supporters of Judea and Samaria Jewish communities - refuses to do so.

      The Arabs are claiming that in 1978 the IDF told the residents of an Arab village near Homesh that the land they own will be taken by a general’s order for security purposes.

      The lawyer representing the PA in this matter recently wrote a letter to the IDF’s Central Command, saying: “When the Homesh community was evacuated this area became a military zone which is closed to Israeli civilians. Either way, today it is clear that you no longer require my clients’ land, and therefore you are required to declare the sequestration order void immediately and without delay.”

      Attorney Shlomi Zechariah, who represents the radical leftist Yesh Din organization which dedicates itself to opposing the so-called Israeli “occupation” of Judea and Samaria, told Channel 10: “It was not enough that these people’s lands were taken in order to build a 'settlement', it has been six years since the 'settlement' was evacuated and the army still does not see fit to return the lands to their owners.”

      The Interior Ministry said in response that procedure dictates that a locality code cannot be canceled if there are still citizens with addresses in that locality.

      The IDF spokesman said in response that Central Command received the appeal and that it is being examined. The spokesman added that when the examination is concluded the decision will be handed over to the political echelons.

      Meanwhile, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) who heads the Homesh First lobby in the Knesset, said that he plans to present Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a demand on Sunday “to begin to correct the terrible mistake of the disengagement in those areas where there is civil and security control by the state, and to return the residents of Homesh to their ruined community.”