The illegal West Bank outpost of Eviatar

Illegal West Bank outpost could be first real test for new government

Eviatar has acquired 50 families as residents since its establishment last month and has been a source of friction with nearby Palestinian communities; Netanyahu critics accused outgoing PM of deliberately leaving issue for his replacement

Elisha Ben Kimon |
Published: 06.13.21, 13:21
The illegal West Bank outpost of Eviatar has been growing at an abnormal rate ever since it was set up one month ago, with 50 families already in situ.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Its fate will ultimately be decided by fervently pro-settlement Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett and his government that spans the spectrum of Israelis politics.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    אביתר
    אביתר
    The illegal West Bank outpost of Eviatar
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Netanyahu critics have accused the outgoing prime minister of deliberately leaving the issue to be a thorn in the side of the new government and the man who was to replace him.
    Unlike previous efforts to settle the area, which comprised tents that could be removed by the IDF without the need for special government permission, Eviatar already has brick buildings, a yeshiva and infrastructure for electricity and waterworks.
    It even has a bus station, although it is near no current bus routes.
    Clashes between the IDF and Palestinians from nearby villages have broken out over the new outpost, resulting Friday in the death of a Palestinian youth.
    A growing number of settlers have been arriving at the site in an effort to foil any attempt by security forces to remove it - should the new government give the order do so.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    אביתר
    אביתר
    The yeshiva at the Eviatar outpost
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Eviatar is situated in Area C, which is under Israeli civil and security control. The ownership of the land has not yet been determined and although the outpost's ultimate fate is still undecided, evacuation proceedings have already been approved by the outgoing government.
    "What is happening here is an attempt by the government to uproot a settlement established on uncontested land at a strategic point,” said Yossi Dagan, the head of Samaria Regional Council.
    “If there is one righteous Zionist act that the Israeli government should adopt, it is Eviatar," Dagan said.
    "To anyone talking about legality, I would like to point out that there are 80 illegal houses built by Arabs around Eviatar as part of their efforts to control Area C.”
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    עימותים בין כפר ביתא לאביתר
    עימותים בין כפר ביתא לאביתר
    Palestinians protest in the village of Beita over the construction of the West Bank outpost of Eviatar
    (Photo: AFP)
    The construction of the settlement prompted riots in the nearby Palestinian villages as well as clashes with Israeli security forces, during which a Palestinian youth was killed.
    Eviatar’s construction was also a cause for friction between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who lambasted the outgoing leader for his opposition to an order for all construction to cease at the outpost.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, and outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been at odds over Eviatar
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, and outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been at odds over Eviatar
    Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, and outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been at odds over Eviatar
    (Photos: AFP, Yonatan Zindel, Nachala Settlement Movement)
    "The very establishment of the outpost is an illegal move of exceptional scope,” read a letter sent by the Defense Ministry to the Prime Minister's Office on Gantz's behalf.
    “It is the exceptional circumstances of the case that led to the decision to issue the order, after consultation with all the relevant security and legal factors," the letter said.
    Talkbacks for this article 0