Gantz Rebuffs Netanyahu’s Demand to Delay Evacuation of Illegal West Bank Outpost

'You have no authority regarding evacuation orders,' Gantz's office says

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The illegal Evyatar outpost last week.
The illegal Evyatar outpost last week.Credit: Moti Milrod

Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a stern rebuke on Thursday of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that he delay the evacuation an unauthorized West Bank outpost, saying that he had no authority regarding evacuation orders.

In response to the prime minister's letter on Wednesday claiming that the order to evacuate the outpost of Evyatar was improper, Gantz’s office issued a statement saying, “There is no provision in the law stating that an evacuation order in the Judea and Samaria area requires the approval of the prime minister.”

Gantz's statement said that "[t]he very establishment of the outpost is illegal” and that the decision was made to evacuate Evyatar only “after consultation with all relevant security and legal bodies.”

Wednesday's letter, sent by Netanyahu's chief of staff, Asher Hayoun, to Gantz's chief of staff, said that the special demarcation order, which prevents further building at the site and required the evacuation of the outpost, was issued without the proper authority.

Benny Gantz at a press conference in Jerusalem on Monday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Hayoun claimed that such an order requires the approval of the prime minister, and asked that the Defense Ministry “refrain from enforcement” until the status of the land be clarified.

The outpost, built on the site of an army base on land owned by the Palestinian villages of Beita, Qabalan and Yatma, was established following a shooting attack at the junction in May, in which a yeshiva student, Yehuda Guetta, was murdered.

The outpost is named after Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the settlement of Yitzhar who was murdered in an attack in May of 2013. After his murder there were three attempts to build an outpost at the site – in 2013, 2016 and 2018 – but the mobile homes and other structures erected there were quickly evacuated.

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