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Evacuate Evyatar Without Compromise

Haaretz Editorial
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The West Bank outpost of Evyatar on Monday.
The West Bank outpost of Evyatar on Monday.Credit: Moti Milrod
Haaretz Editorial

It is impossible to believe what we’re reading: The settlers in the illegal Evyatar outpost agreed to accept the offer to evacuate the site proposed to them by government representatives. Their royal highnesses, scofflaw masters of the land, who criminally seized Palestinian property and without a trace of shame erected an illegal community, deigned to agree to the “compromise” formulated by the Israeli government especially for them. The generosity of winners.

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As part of the outline, the settlers will leave but the homes will remain, with the government saying that the status of the land would be reexamined. The government also promised that if a way is found to legalize the outpost, the settlers could return to the homes.

Meanwhile, the settlers needn’t fear the loss of their newly controlled territory, or that their historic homes of less than 60 days will God forbid fall into Palestinian hands. This is because according to the plan, when the settlers withdraw, a military base will be immediately established at the site, and later on a yeshiva will be opened there.

Who knows, perhaps in time the Knesset will be moved there too. Lawmaker Nir Orbach, who considered moving his office to Evyatar as an act of protest, will yet be crowned the Columbus of Evyatar.

And if it weren’t enough that the Israeli government has chosen to legitimize this plunder and protect the strong from the weak, the looters from the looted, we discovered on Monday that it did so in defiance of the views of both senior officers in Central Command and intelligence officials. Both groups said the outpost should be evacuated immediately to prevent escalation in the West Bank. Moreover, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and other senior officials learned about the compromise agreement between the settlers and Defense Minister Benny Gantz from the media (as reported by Haaretz's Yaniv Kubovich). Gantz, meanwhile, seems committed to keeping his promise that “the issue will be dealt with ... in the most sensitive fashion.” Sensitive to the interests of the extremists in the territories, of course.

Even though Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday that the compromise isn’t yet finalized, it’s hard not to marvel at the sensitivity demonstrated by the government in its dealings with the criminals of the territories. Its members don’t seem to be moved by the fact that the illegal outpost was erected on land belonging to three Palestinian villages, or that there used to be a military base there whose construction required a land-seizure order, an indication that it may indeed be privately owned Palestinian land. But the truth is that regardless of whether it’s private land or what is termed “state land,” the outpost is illegal. So let’s tell it like it is: This “compromise” is nothing more than a mechanism to whitewash the outpost.

Evyatar must be evacuated and its buildings must be razed. There’s no need for a military base or yeshiva there. Just clear everything out immediately, with no compromises.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

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