Settlers flood Evyatar outpost: Not afraid of pressure from the US - 'We're here to stay'

Thousands gather at the illegal outpost following terror attack in which four people were killed, and say they believe the government won't act to evacuate them despite potential pressure from Palestinians and on the international stage

Elisha Ben Kimon|Updated:
Hundreds of settlers have flooded the illegal Evyatar outpost in the West Bank in the wake of the terror attack near the northern West Bank settlement Eli. And they intend to stay: In fact, they are already preparing for the coming Shabbat.
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Young boys are setting up shelters, renovating houses, and plowing the land, and don’t plan on stopping soon. Only a few hours after the attack on Wednesday that claimed the lives of four people, settlers from the Nachala settler movement and the Shomron Regional Council have begun establishing a new settlement.
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מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
Israeli settlers in Evyatar outpost
(Photo: Elisha Ben Kimon)
Hundreds of settlers remain in the Evyatar outpost with the government’s approval. Two years ago, after a terror shooting attack where yeshiva student Yehuda Guetta was killed, settlers moved into the outpost and, within a few days, thousands of them encamped in the area including families and children.
In order to avoid a violent evacuation, the previous government led by Naftali Bennett signed an agreement with the settlers, according to which they would evacuate willingly while a land survey was conducted in the area, after which a yeshiva would be established where the outpost stood.
The promised land survey was carried out by Bennett, but the process of declaring the land as Israeli has yet to be complete, and the yeshiva wasn’t established.
"I don’t believe the government wants to uproot the settlement and therefore strengthen terrorism. I call on the government to approve Evyatar as an Israeli settlement today," Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, said.
However, the settlement’s establishment is expected to create tension with the United States, European Union and Palestinian Authority. During the settlers' stay at the location under the previous government, Palestinian residents of a nearby village set tires on fire and carried out dangerous riots.
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מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
Israeli settlers gather in Evyatar
(Photo: Elisha Ben Kimon)
"We’re in Evyatar to stay," Dagan emphasized. "The government needs to approve the settlement today, regardless of the terror attack. But certainly, after so much blood was shed, the response needs to be the establishment of new settlements. Evyatar is legal seeing that the Israeli government signed an agreement for it.”
Tzvi Elimelech Sharbaf, chairman of the Nachala Movement, said the time is right to establish a new settlement. "It’s only right that we aren’t evacuated. The government needs to declare the establishment of a new settlement. And I really hope that we can stay and establish ourselves here. We feel like this time they won't come to evacuate us," he said.
"In the past two years, we’ve been working tirelessly to return here, whether it's holidays we celebrated here, events, meetings or tours, we did everything we could to come back. We really hope that this time it's for good, we want to stay here and take root," Sharbaf added.
"The government must initiate a broad settlement plan, not due to the fact Jews were killed, but because we need to establish 10 new settlements in the West Bank starting today," he said.
3 View gallery
מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
מתנחלים עלו לאביתר בעקבות הפיגוע ליד עלי
Pre-fab buildings at Evyatar outpost
(Photo: Elisha Ben Kimon)
Do you expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant to simply allow you to stay despite the process to announce the settlement not being done?
"The opposite is true, the process was completed during Sukkot two years ago. The government finished everything it needed to do for us to return here, it can happen at any moment. We upheld our part of the deal and the government needs to do the same. No one is currently trying to evacuate us."
Tchiya Haim, who arrived with her family in Evyatar, said that: "When other nations believe us to be vulnerable and weak, they act accordingly. And when they see Israel standing proud, they react differently.”
“It’s clear to us that the government, with Netanyahu at its helm, will demonstrate the determination and ability to keep their promise. I don't see any other possibility," she added.
Regarding the delay in establishing the settlement after the settler's agreement with the previous government, Hayim said: "The situation isn’t the same, the settlement was already established two years ago, now we just need to receive official approval that this government said it would facilitate.”
"We’re staying here. I don't really see any forces arriving to evacuate us," she asserted,
On Wednesday and Thursday, members of the Religious Zionist, Otzma Yehudit, and Likud parties, including Simcha Rothman, Ariel Kallner, Zvi Sukkot, and Limor Son Har-Melech, visited the outpost. More Knesset members are expected to visit the outpost.
First published: 18:34, 06.22.23
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