Last-Minute Compromise on Evyatar Not Final

Israeli soldiers bringing demolition equipment to the Evyatar outpost, Sunday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Reports earlier on Monday that a compromise solution had been reached that would avert the destruction of the Evyatar outpost were premature, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett cautioned on Monday night that the deal has still not been finalized, despite an announcement by the Shomron Regional Council that a compromise had been reached.

“This is a sensitive issue. The matter is not yet closed. We are trying to reach a compromise,” Bennett said.

It had been reported that the government agreed to a deal that would have residents leaving their homes, but the structures won’t be torn down. Instead, the IDF will set up a makeshift army base on the site, and a new yeshiva will be established there in the next few weeks, according to the Shomron Regional Council.

The state agreed to reconsider the status of the outpost’s land with a view to making it legal for a return of its residents, who number about 50 families.

However, there had been no official confirmation of the terms of the deal from Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz or Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who were said to have agreed to it.

Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan welcomed the plan, saying: “This is a strategic plan… ultimately our main mission is to build the Land of Israel and to maintain unity among the people of Israel.”

Right-wing activists, many of whom had been bracing for a confrontation with security forces who had arrived to carry out the evacuation, reportedly celebrated the news with song and dance.

Meanwhile, there was no official confirmation of the terms of the deal from Bennett, Gantz or Shaked.

MKs from the predominantly Arab Joint List party slammed the proposal as “legitimizing settlement and crime. Instead of homes, this hill will in several weeks house a yeshiva, meaning dozens of young settlers who will only cause more violence, abuse and theft,” MK Aida Touma-Sliman charged in a statement.

“Responsibility for this crime lies with all the partners in the coalition,” she said, a reference to the Islamist Ra’am party.

Evyatar is situated just off Route 505 near Tapuach junction, which links the Shomron region with the Jordan Valley. Defenders of the outpost say that its presence is to prevent Palestinians from severing the link between the two areas.

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