Israeli security forces are preparing to evacuate the unauthorized Evyatar Jewish outpost in the West Bank within days, or up to a few weeks at most, as officials warn of serious implications in case it remains in place.
The preparations follow deliberations, which included politicians and officials, providing input on the security and legal aspects of the operation. Over the past days, in the course of the deliberations regarding the handling of the outpost, security officials said that allowing it to remain in place would have serious security implications.
Two weeks ago, the head of the Israeli army’s Central Command, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai, issued a demarcation order, which practically allows an eviction of the settlers without further notice. Last week, Evyatar residents filed objections to the order, which were rejected. This move, however, gave the residents an additional week, which elapsed last Sunday, to pursue other legal action in the case. As a result, evacuation plans, which include not only the army but also Israeli police, have already been drafted.
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Next Sunday, after his return from Washington, Israeli army Chief of Staff Avi Kochavi will confer with security officials on the approval of the plans.
In the meantime, a letter has been sent to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett signed by 11 rabbis, 22 Knesset lawmakers and dozens of right-wing public figures claiming that the evacuation of the outpost would not pass quietly.
Already in May, about a week after the cease-fire took effect halting the military confrontation between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, consent was given at the political level in Israel to evacuate the outpost. However, before it was carried out, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said that he did not have sufficient personnel available to do so, while large police forces were redeployed from the West Bank into Israel, where violence had erupted in mixed Arab-Jewish towns and cities.
In the period since, Evyatar, which was initially constructed in May and is already home for 50 families, has continued to grow. Israeli security officials are urging that it be carried out as soon as possible in light of the continual growth of the outpost.
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Security officials have also claimed that Hamas is using the existence of the outpost to further its own agenda, using its so-called “nighttime harassment units” to disrupt the residents of Evyatar. Some of the disruptive activity, include noise, sounds of explosions, and burning tires.
Hagar Shezaf has contributed to this report.