About 50,000 Israelis, including eight ministers and 20 MKs, marched to the Evyatar outpost on Monday afternoon to demand its legalization. The MKs who took part in the rally signed the “Evyatar Charter,” calling for the regulation of the outpost and the establishment of new settlements.
The march and rally were secured by the IDF and Israel Police as Israeli forces continued to search for the terrorists behind Friday’s shooting attack in which Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee were murdered in the Jordan Valley, and the Saturday night shooting attack in which two IDF soldiers were injured in Huwara.
Leaders of the religious Zionist sector took part in the march as well, including Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of Samaria; Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, former chief rabbi of Ramat Gan; Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed; Rabbi Dov Lior, former chief rabbi of Hebron; and Rabbi Yaakov Medan, a rosh yeshiva at Yeshivat Har Etzion.
Israeli media reported that defense officials were concerned that the march was diverting security forces from handling other issues, including the hunt for the terrorists responsible for recent shooting attacks and efforts to prevent further attacks.
During the march, clashes were reported in the Palestinian village of Beita, near Evyatar, with IDF soldiers shooting tear gas toward Palestinians and journalists in the village. Two soldiers were lightly injured by stones thrown during the disturbances.
شاهد | جنود الاحتلال يعتدون على الصحفيين أثناء تغطية المواجهات قبالة جبل صبيح. pic.twitter.com/qGV9Vq4TZA— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) April 10, 2023
Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman expressed outrage during Monday’s march, linking recent violence to the repeal of parts of the Disengagement Law (which concerns areas some 20 km. north of Evyatar), saying, “The responsibility for the atrocities and destruction experienced by the Palestinians falls on everyone! Do not confuse the brain with your selective democracy!”
The march, which took place just a few kilometers from Huwara, came as tensions remain high in the region after multiple rounds of rocket fire from Lebanon, Syria and the Gaza Strip in the past week, and a wave of terrorist attacks in recent months.
Yossi Dagan: Marching to Evyatar in response to terror
Before the march began, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan stressed, “The arrival of the masses today is proof that the people of Israel want Evyatar and want Zionism. Together we march now and say: ‘We will never give up on the Land of Israel.’ The victory of Israel over terrorism is the establishment of new settlements. They want to take us out of our land and we will raise our spirits, we will march with our heads held high to Evyatar, which is a symbol of the faith and strength of the people of Israel. We will demand this very simple thing, to build freely in our land, to regulate the Evyatar plan and allow the 53 families to return home.”
"The arrival of the masses today is proof that the people of Israel want Evyatar and want Zionism. Together we march now and say: We will never give up on the Land of Israel, it is possible and necessary to overcome weaknesses and delays, it is possible and necessary to settle in our eternal Land of Israel."Yossi Dagan
Elyada Barak, the brother of Evyatar Borovsky, after whom the outpost is named, stated that he “came here to represent our beloved family. I can only imagine Evyatar watching us from above, seeing all the blessed work, all the multitudes who struggled to come and all those who support us from afar. Evyatar must be rubbing his eyes in disbelief, smiling and proud of all of you.”
Borovsky was murdered in a stabbing attack at the Tapuah Junction in 2013.
Ben-Gvir said at march, “We do not surrender to terrorism, not in Evyatar, not in Tel Aviv. We are here in order to say the people of Israel are strong. We are here and will stay here.” As he was walking, some people shouted at the minister, “Go home, you tricked us.”
"We do not surrender to terrorism, not in Evyatar, not in Tel Aviv. We are here in order to say the people of Israel are strong. We are here and will stay here."Itamar Ben-Gvir
Daniela Weiss, the chair of the Nahala Settlement Movement, stated, “The most effective way to deal with terrorism, as it has been throughout history, is to establish new settlements.”
Smotrich said, “This place will be bustling with life.”
The left-wing Yesh Din organization called the march to Evyatar “provocative” and “a demonstration of Jewish supremacy, carried out to poke a finger in the eye of the Palestinians. While the residents of the Palestinian territories are subject to a blockade, masses of settlers will march to miraculously lift the ideology of expropriation and plunder. The participation of the ministers in the march today is another plank on the burning fire in the occupied territories, as its main victims are, as usual, the Palestinians.”
Palestinian Authority Presidency spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the march, calling it an “invasion of settler militias” and warning that it “pushes matters towards an explosion, which no one will ever be able to control.”
"While the residents of the Palestinian territories are subject to a blockade, masses of settlers will march to miraculously lift the ideology of expropriation and plunder."Yesh Din
Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk warned that the march to Evyatar “means [Israel’s] insistence on continuing the ongoing wave of escalation.”
After a terrorist attack in February in Huwara, in which brothers Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were murdered, settlers and politicians returned to Evyatar but were removed shortly after by the IDF.
The settlers who established Evyatar originally evacuated the outpost in July 2021, as part of a compromise with the government under which then-prime minister Naftali Bennett agreed to advance the legalization of the outpost. Since then, there has not been much progress in that regard.
"The settlers' march towards the Evyatar outpost, and the storming of dozens of others at the al-Aqsa Mosque, pour more oil on the fire of the ongoing escalation, and push the resistance to further discuss its legitimate options."
Under an agreement reached at the time, structures then in place remained at the site and an army base was set up. The Civil Administration conducted a survey of the land in the months after the deal was signed to establish which areas of land could be declared state lands on which Evyatar could be established. The survey found that about six hectares (15 acres) at the site could be declared as such, according to Ynet.
The settlers who established Evyatar originally evacuated the outpost in July 2021 as part of a compromise with the Israeli government under which then-prime minister Naftali Bennett agreed to advance the legalization of the outpost. Since then, there has not been much progress concerning the arrangements of the deal.
Under the deal, the structures placed at the site at the time remained there and an army base was set up at the site. The Civil Administration conducted a survey of the land in the months after the deal was signed to establish which areas of land could be declared as state lands on which Evyatar could be established and found that about 60 dunams of the area could be declared as such, according to Ynet.
According to the arrangement, the settlers were meant to be allowed to establish a yeshiva at the site once the land was declared state land, and the government would move to legalize the outpost. Neither part of the deal came to fruition.
The legalization of the outpost was included in the coalition agreements signed by the Likud, Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionist parties.