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Israeli settlers, Palestinians clash near Homesh in West Bank after EU visit

Reports of Israel's intention to move the makeshift yeshiva at the West Bank Homesh settlement to nearby state land have stoked tensions and clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.
A Palestinian youth runs during confrontations with Israeli troops following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel in the occupied- West Bank, in the village of Kfar Qaddum, near the Jewish settlement of Kedumim, on May 19, 2023. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

Six Palestinian residents of the West Bank village of Burqa and one Jewish settler were injured in clashes that broke out Wednesday evening near the flashpoint Homesh outpost.   

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that one of the six Palestinians sustained a bullet injury in his leg. Israeli authorities said the Israeli man suffered a head wound from villagers throwing stones. Tel-Aviv-headquartered human rights organization Yesh Din said clashes erupted after European diplomats toured the area.

Homesh was one of the four north Samaria settlements evacuated in the framework of the 2005 Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israeli law has prohibited Israelis from entering the area and from rebuilding the demolished settlements. Still, despite the legal prohibition, over the years Israelis have been settling at the four sites in attempts to establish a presence there. Attempts have increased since December 2021, when settler Yehuda Dimentman was killed by Palestinian assailants when leaving the makeshift yeshiva established in Homesh. 

On March 20, as part of the coalition agreement between the Likud and the Religious Zionism party, the Knesset canceled part of the Gaza Disengagement Law of 2005, enabling Israelis to enter the evacuated sites, but not rebuild them. Last week, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Central Commander Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fox signed a decree, removing the ban on the arrival of Israelis to Homesh that had been in place until then for security reasons. The move by Fox, under orders of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, was widely condemned by the European Union and by the United States.

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