Lapid Warns Legalization of Evyatar Outpost Would Damage Relations with U.S.

israeli settlements
A welcome sign at the entrance to the outpost of Evyatar, in the Shomron. (Flash90)

Plans to retroactively legalize the Evyatar outpost have led to a sharp split within the Bennett-Lapid coalition, according to media reports.

The rift was set off by the news on Wednesday that the outgoing attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, in one of his final official acts just hours before his term expired, approved a compromise deal between the government and residents to legalize Evyatar.

That precipitated a letter from Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warning that such a move could harm relations with the U.S., according to Haaretz.

“Any step toward implementing the plan, which as is known, was not made in consultation with me and is contrary to my opinion, includes an actual declaration of state lands or the issuing of a ‘special planning order,’ which could have serious diplomatic consequences and damage to foreign relations, first and foremost from the United States,” Lapid wrote. “This has already been made clear by the U.S. administration at senior levels.”

“This would cause real damage in the growing legal-diplomatic campaign [against Israel] before international forums, taking advantage of it to promote the delegitimization of Israel,” he added.

On Thursday, MK Yair Golan of the left-wing Meretz declared that his party “will not allow” the legalization of Evyatar, “period.”

“We will not allow Evyatar to be established, period,” he told Ynet. “We entered this government while swallowing a mammoth-sized pill because it was decided that a yeshiva would be allowed to operate there. To now go for a further step of establishing a community there — we won’t let it happen, and that needs to be clear to anyone who wants this government to continue to exist.”

The Labor party has also threatened dire consequences if the outpost approval is implemented.

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