The Knesset approved on Wednesday in first reading a bill to abolish the Disengagement Law by a vote of 62-36.
The Disengagement Law led to the destruction and evacuation of four Jewish communities in northern Samaria—Sa-Nur, Homesh, Ganim and Kadim—and 21 in the Gaza Strip.
The law would restore freedom of movement to Israelis in the four Samaria communities.
Knesset member Yuli Edelstein and National Missions Minister Orit Strook sponsored the measure at the request of Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, who was himself among those expelled from the Samaria communities.
“The terrorism in Judea and Samaria concerns us, especially the terrorism in northern Samaria. The most logical explanation is that where there is no settlement or civilian population, over time, it becomes very difficult to maintain effective control over that area,” Edelstein told Israel National News after Wednesday’s vote.
A game of cat and mouse has taken place between the IDF and former residents and supporters since the disengagement, particularly at Homesh, where a yeshiva has operated inside caravans and tents. Troops have dismantled the yeshiva several times over the years.
The coalition agreement between Likud and the Religious Zionism Party, led by Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, requires the government to reverse parts of the disengagement and allow for the Homesh Yeshiva to remain as a first step towards rebuilding the four communities.
The legislation does not apply to Gaza, from which all Jews were removed in 2005.