Netanyahu has no authority to halt Evyatar outpost demolition, Gantz says


The outpost was built last month by the Nahala movement near the Tapuach junction in the aftermath of the shooting death of Yehuda Guetta. TOVAH LAZAROFF
NETANYAHU AND Gantz – can they put their animosity aside and serve the public?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has no authority to halt the demolition of the Evyatar outpost in the West Bank, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday.
“You have no authority regarding the demarcation [eviction] order,” Gantz said in a statement he issued to the media.
Netanyahu had asked Gantz on Wednesday not to execute the eviction order he issued on Sunday for the demolition of the outpost this coming Monday.
Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Asher Hayon, explained in a letter that the use of a demarcation order for this type of situation was unusual and unduly draconian. It was also possible, he said, to declare the territory on which the outpost was built state land and thus legalize it.
The outpost was built last month by the Nahala movement near the Tapuah junction in the Samaria region of the West Bank, in the aftermath of the shooting death of Yehuda Guetta, 19, by a Palestinian terrorist at the junction.
An initiative to build an outpost at that spot was first launched in 2013, when an Israeli actor, Evyatar Borovsky, 31, and a father of five, was stabbed to death at the Tapuah junction by a Palestinian terrorist. The outpost then and now was named in his memory.
Forty-seven families have illegally moved into the outpost in the last month. Settlers, including Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, have called on the government to authorize the outpost as a new settlement. Israel rarely authorizes new settlements.
Gantz said that his determination to remove the settlers had little to do with the land’s status, but was connected to their decision to illegally settle the hilltop in very large numbers. He said the very establishment of the outpost is an illegal operation.
“The exceptional circumstances of the case led to the decision to issue the demarcation order,” he said.
Should the evacuation take place as planned, it would occur just one day after the newly elected government was sworn in. Gantz’s Blue and White Party will be part of that coalition, and he will continue in his role as defense minister.
At the Evyatar outpost, activists welcomed the donation of a new Torah scroll to the community with song and dance. Among the participants was MK Orit Struck (Religious Zionist Party).
At a Youth for Sovereignty conference in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank, Jonathan Pollard called on Gantz not to evacuate Evyatar, and that full application of sovereignty should be imposed over all of Judea and Samaria.
Separately, Gantz announced on Thursday night that the project to build an elevator to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron would move forward. There had been initial concern that the new government would freeze the project, which has been opposed by the Palestinian Authority and the international community.
According to the Defense Ministry, a building permit for the project will now be issued.
The tomb is not wheelchair accessible, and the elevator project will allow those who can not walk to also enter the site.
Gantz said that a site of such importance to both Israelis and Palestinians should be accessible to all.


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