July 25, 2021

In the north of the West Bank, the strategic withdrawal of the wild colony of Evyatar sounds like a first victory for its promoters

Just before leaving, the fifty or so families who had settled illegally in the wild colony of Evyatar erected a huge Star of David, facing the Palestinian town of Beita, on the hill next to it, in the north of the occupied West Bank. ” We will return “, they also registered.

Friday, July 2, the evacuation went exactly as the new Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, dreamed of it: smooth in front of the cameras. His government forged a compromise that looks like a capitulation in favor of the settlers: the white barracks, a mixture of hard construction and prefabricated buildings, erected in a few weeks in the olive groves south of Nablus, will remain standing. They will be guarded by soldiers, while waiting for the government to study the status of the land on which they were built.

Read also Fifty Years of Illegal Occupation in the West Bank: How Colonization Continued to Expand

The evacuation of the settlement was almost inevitable: the Israeli Civil Administration, in charge of the occupied West Bank and subordinate to the army, had already ordered the demolition of the buildings. Thanks to the new agreement, however, the latter is suspended. The settlers believe that Evyatar will soon be legalized – under Israeli law at least, as international law considers the transfer of civilian populations from an occupying power to occupied territory a war crime.

“It was the best compromise we could find, says Ayelet Shlisel, spokesperson for the Nahala movement, which oversees the community, her daughter clinging to her long black skirt. We’ll slip away for a while, while they finish the bureaucratic arrangements, and we’ll come back. “ In the meantime, she will return to “His large house of 190 square meters” in Ariel, another colony, with her five children. The 36-year-old Israeli tried to settle in Evyatar eight years ago – tents, hastily erected and dismantled a few days later.

“A new policy”

Thursday, when the final agreement had just been concluded, no one had yet started the boxes. In the already paved streets, children and adolescents passed from one house to another, under a blazing sun, some of the older ones armed with automatic rifles. Young girls were carrying sacks of cement: until the end, the settlers were busy building. Some barracks already had air conditioning, like that of Serah Lisson. According to this 34-year-old religious Jew, mother of six, settled here from the start, almost nine weeks ago, Evyatar grew quickly because “Dozens of people came to lend a hand, every day”.

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