|District||Judea and Samaria Area|
|Demolished||August 23, 2005|
|• Total||70 families|
|Name meaning||After 5 villages that were in the area during the time of the Mishnah and the Talmud.|
Homesh (Hebrew: חֹמֶשׁ, חומש) was a Community settlement and Israeli settlement in the northern Samarian Hills of the West Bank along Route 60. The village fell under the administrative jurisdiction of the Shomron Regional Council. In 2005, the town's Jewish community was evicted and their homes were demolished, as part of Israel's unilateral disengagement plan from the northern West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The village was established in 1978 on 173 acres (700 dunams) of allegedly confiscated land belonging to the nearby Palestinian village of Burqa, whose ownership was certified in the land registry. Under the Jordanian occupation (1949-67) vast areas of land in Judea and Samaria were given to towns, villages and sheikhs. None of the land was purchased, most of it was never used (usufruct), and no taxes were paid. Therefore, according to Ottoman and British Mandate law, it reverts to the sovereign power as state land, currently Israel. Such Arab claims of private ownership are not court-certified, lack deeds, and are therefore invalid, although recently Israeli military authorities have recognized these claims. The issue of land claims in Judea and Samaria was examined by the Edmund Levy Commission in 2012, and a comprehensive report was submitted. The report can be read at: http://regavim.org.il/en/levy-report-translated-into-english/
It began as a pioneer Nahal military outpost, and demilitarized when turned over to residential purposes in 1980 to Secular Jews. During the Second Intifada about half of the residents left. Shortly thereafter, dozens of Orthodox Jews moved to the village in order to show support for the continued settlement of the area. The Homesh Yeshiva has endeavoured to retain some hold on the area by sleeping in nearby caves. The IDF maintained a requisition order to impede Palestinians from returning to the land for eight years, and only rescinded it when the case came up before the Supreme Court in 2013. Palestinian owners are now replanting the area, and a rise in attempts by Jewish extremists to wrest back control is expected.
The residents of Homesh were forcefully evicted from their homes and their houses demolished as part of Israel's disengagement of August 2005. Since that time, former residents and others have revisited the ruins multiple times and are making efforts to return to the site and rebuild. Kibbutz Yad Hana accepted the government's offer to absorb settlers evicted from Homesh in the partial disengagement from the occupied territories (see Protocol N.31 of the Knesset Ombudsman sub-committee on the disengaged, 5 Jan-2009) and was renamed Yad Hana-Homesh.
Drive to rebuild
In 2006 during Hanukkah, a few hundred people, including settlers and some former residents, arrived at Homesh and lit a Hanukkah 'shamash' candle. A declaration was made that this effort was the first step in rebuilding Homesh. On March 26, 2007, a few thousand supporters and former residents marched to Homesh and declared their wish to stay and rebuild. While the 'Disengagement Law' forbids Jewish citizens from being in the area, the Israeli army and police said that they allowed the march in order to avoid marchers detouring around roadblocks through Arab areas and to avoid violence such as in the evacuation of Amona. The new resettlement was demolished on March 28, 2007, by the Israel Police, border police and military police. After being evacuated the marchers said that they would try again. Another march of thousands took place on April 24, 2007, the Israeli Independence Day. Many are determined to return to their former homes. During an ascent in June 2007, the largest remaining structure in Homesh, its water tower, was painted orange, the color of the anti-disengagement movement. The color made the hilltop more visible in its surroundings, emboldening those hoping to rebuild the community.
In late July 2007, another wider effort began in the effort to renew a permanent presence on the site. Hundreds of Israelis detoured around roadblocks to reach the site. Since then, while the police make attempts to clear the site, new visitors have returned with those who had been removed.
In 2007, during Rosh Hashana, dozens of Jews were evicted and not allowed to celebrate the holiday at Homesh. Judea and Samaria police told the media that the terror alert necessitated the eviction of the families despite the fact that it involved desecration of the holiday. "The sensitivity to the holiday is important but after assessment sessions were held, it was decided that there was a need to operate during the holiday." 
In June 2007, Knesset member Aryeh Eldad announced that he has the support of 42 Knesset members, in a bill proposing the rebuilding of Homesh, and the decriminalization of further rebuilding attempts. The bill is likely to be voted on in the fall session of 2008.
Fatah military commander Abu Araj has stated that if settlers return to Homesh, the Palestinians would meet the Jewish community with, "fire and attacks. We will not let this entrance go by quietly, and just as before, we will make every effort to liberate our land all over again."
In August 2007, an Israeli court ruled that it was not illegal entering the ruins of Homesh. Nevertheless, the army frequently declares the site a closed military zone and that it is illegal for civilians to be there.
Justice David Gadol ruled that the Disengagement Law, on which the state bases its prohibition on entering the ruins of Homesh was legislated is not to be utilized for different purposes after that event. The judge also ruled that the government has not relinquished Homesh to another sovereignty and that its status and access roads remain Area 'C' which is in full control of Israel and with no restrictions on Israeli traffic, "After the evacuation of Homesh, Ganim and Kadim, unlike the evacuation of the Gaza Strip settlements, as far as I know, the areas were not transferred to what is known as the Palestinian Authority. As I recall, there were pictures of Palestinians from the area looting the property that was left behind by the evacuating forces. For this reason it is important to legally define whether this territory has Area 'C' status," Justice David Gadol stated, according to Haaretz.
- Chaim Levinson 'Eight years after evacuation of West Bank settlement, Palestinian owners return to land ,' at Haaretz, 3 October 2013
- CNS News
- Ynet article.
- INN news report.
- Jpost article
- "700 евреев вернулись в Хомеш!". 7kanal.com. July 23, 2007.
- "42 MKs back return to Homesh". Jerusalem Post. June 18, 2008.
- Ynet news
- "Kfar Sava court rules entering Homesh ruins is not illegal". Haaretz. Aug 26, 2007.