Settlement Over Illegal Settlement Surprises Generals, Outrages Palestinians
Israeli military officials on Tuesday expressed their dismay over a compromise reportedly reached between the Jerusalem government and settlers in an illegal West Bank outpost. According to the as-yet-unofficial agreement, the dozens of people who have in recent weeks erected the new Evyatar outpost on the outskirts of the Palestinian village Beita will voluntarily evict themselves by week’s end. In return, the army will station a company of soldiers on the windswept hill while authorities review the disputed territory’s status yet again, despite Israeli courts already decreeing the land out of bounds for Jewish settlement. In addition, the military will allow a group of religious students and their families to remain on the hill until the issue is resolved. On Monday, just as the compromise was announced in the media, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi and top generals were making final preparations for the outpost’s removal and were reportedly caught off guard by the government’s about-face. The controversial arrangement over the illegal settlement is expected to lead to further unrest among Palestinians, who have in recent weeks violently protested against the land’s seizure. Four demonstrators were killed in clashes with the Israeli military.