Israeli Settlers Vacate Illegal West Bank Outpost
Jewish Israeli settlers leave the recently established West Bank outpost of Evyatar, July 2, 2021. (Amir Levy/Getty Images)

Israeli Settlers Vacate Illegal West Bank Outpost

Around four dozen families and assorted teenage volunteers left Evyatar, the West Bank outpost erected illegally last month 7 miles south of Nablus, on Friday afternoon following an agreement with the Israeli government.

According to the arrangement, Israeli soldiers will man the site and structures built in violation of Israeli law will not be razed while the Defense Ministry carries out a further examination of the land’s legal status. The government and military said in recent weeks that the hill on which the outpost was built is out of bounds for settlement and that Evyatar’s establishment constituted “a severe and flagrant violation of the law.”

The agreement drew harsh criticism from the Israeli far right and left. Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who helped hammer out the deal, was given police protection after he received threats to his life from far-right activists. Leftist politicians and activists slammed the deal as encouraging lawlessness and caving in to pressure from extremists, and asked Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit to investigate how the outpost was allowed to be constructed, in violation of Israeli law. Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) called on the government to cancel demolition orders against Palestinian homes built illegally in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood, in light of the deal to preserve the illegal structures at Evyatar.

A US State Department spokesman condemned the outpost, saying, “We believe it is critical to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance equal measures of freedom, security and prosperity and a negotiated two-state solution. This certainly includes establishing new outposts which are illegal even under Israeli law.”

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