Israeli minister vows to block authorization of West Bank outpost

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev (Labor) pledged to block authorization of the Evyatar settler outpost, just hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he planned to go ahead with his deal to build a new settlement. In the West Bank on top of that hill.

“There are enough ways to dissolve this agreement,” Bar-Lev told Army Radio on Sunday morning. “The Evyatar community [outpost] it was illegal and illegal communities must be evacuated, ”added the minister.

Bar-Lev spoke the morning after Bennett told reporters that he plans to fulfill his authorization promise in July to some 50 families who illegally moved to the hilltop from the West Bank in May. Bennett promised that he would legalize their community as a new settlement, beginning with the creation of a yeshiva there, if they voluntarily evacuated.

Bar-Lev said he had opposed the settlement with the settlers in July and is still against it now. This included, he said, the issue of building a yeshiva on the site.

“I don’t think there should be a yeshiva there,” he said.

A man at the Evyatar outpost (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The problem has arisen recently because settlers have said that an IDF land study showed there was enough state land on the top of the hill for a settlement authorization and they have pressured Bennett to keep his word.

Although the Evyatar initiative was a highly coordinated initiative by both the Samaria Regional Council headed by Yossi Dagan and the Nahala grassroots Movement headed by Daniella Weiss. He also had the support of many right-wing politicians.

Bar-Lev blamed the creation of Evyatar on hilltop youth, the nickname for right-wing extremist teens and young adults who are active in Judea and Samaria.

“The youth at the top of the hill are trying to set the agenda for what will happen here,” he said.

He is not the only member of the coalition to speak out on the matter. Meretz Regional Cooperation Minister Esawi Frej made similar remarks to Army Radio last month.

The Evyatar outpost was first created in 2013 to protest the death of 31-year-old Evyatar Borovsky in a Palestinian terror attack at the nearby Tapuach crossing in the West Bank’s Samaria region. It was quickly evacuated and subsequent attempts to create a community there were quickly stopped.

In May, some 50 settler and right-wing families moved there after a terrorist attack at the Tapuach crossing that same month in which 19-year-old Yehuda Guetta was killed.

The European Union and the United States have opposed the legalization of the outposts. Coalition partners supporting Evyatar’s legalization include Bennett’s Yamina party and New Hope party.

Meanwhile, right-wing politicians plan to petition the Ministerial Committee for legislation that meets on Sunday to pass a bill that would legalize dozens of West Bank outposts on state lands. The bill drafted by the leader of the Religious Zionist Party, Bezalel Smotrich, lacks the support of the coalition. If it is not approved by the ministerial committee, it will move it to the Knesset plenary on Wednesday as a private member’s bill.

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