Settler leader moves headquarters to illegal West Bank outpost

This Haaretz.com article was originally published on this site, click here to view the original

https://www.haaretz.com/polopoly_fs/1.9876501.1622885866!/image/3618492124.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_108/3618492124.jpg

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan temporarily moved his office to the Eviatar settlement in the West Bank on Monday, after the Israeli military issued a demarcation order giving the residents of the recently established illegal outpost eight days to vacate the premises.

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

The outpost is named after Eviatar Borovsky, a resident of the settlement of Yitzhar who was murdered in a terror attack in May 2013. Following 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.

According to Daniella Weiss, the general secretary of the Nahala settlement movement, the outpost currently covers several dozen dunams, but has the potential to expand to 600 dunams (about 150 acres). She said that 42 families are already living there, with another 75 hoping to join them.

Yossi Dagan, chairman of the Samaria Regional Council speaks at a demonstration, December 2018.Credit: Oren Ben Hakoon

The Civil Administration told Haaretz that the structures in Eviatar were erected “illegally, without the necessary permits.”

“Whoever uproots this settlement sends a message of encouragement to our enemies.” Dagan declared in a statement on Monday, a day after the military issued its demarcation order against the outpost. This type of order allows the military to declare whole areas as “demarcated,” and circumvent the need to issue evacuation orders for each individual structure. 

“The settlement of Eviatar was established immediately after the criminal attack in which Yehuda Guetta was killed at the Tapuach junction,” he declared, calling the establishment of the outpost “a proper Zionist answer” to Guetta’s death.

“We are Zionist Jews. The people of Israel seek to add good and light to the world. It’s such an exciting thing that within a month there are 47 families here and they have established a daycare center, public institutions, and a yeshiva.”

“I call on the Israeli government to learn take a moral lesson from the residents here, to learn Zionism from them, this is the real Zionism of 2021. They should be supported and certainly not uprooted,” Dagan said.

Acting in violation of the demarcation order, which prohibits further building at the site, Shas MK Moshe Arbel visited Eviatar on Monday, bringing construction materials with him.

He complained that the Defense Ministry was “prohibiting the importation of construction materials only to Jews” and not Arabs, terming the government order “illegitimate.”

Arbel, who said that he had taken advantage of his parliamentary immunity to get involved in building Eviatar, called on his fellow lawmakers to “come and help establish the settlement.”

“As long as it has not been decided to evacuate them, we have a moral obligation to provide them with electricity, hot water and air conditioning,” he told Haaretz.

A crowdsourcing campaign directed by Zvi Sukkot, a member of the hard-right Otzma Yehudit party and a spokesman for the settlement of Yitzhar, has so far brought in donations totaling about 1,200,000 shekels (about $370,000).