Palestinians riot outside illegal West Bank outpost on eve of evacuation
[IsraelTimes] Red Islamic Thingy says 61 hurt, including six hit by rubber-tipped bullets; under agreement with government, settlers to leave site by 4 p.m. Friday.
Hundreds of Paleostinians gathered outside the illegal Evyatar outpost in the West Bank late Thursday, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails and shooting fireworks at IDF troops at the scene, the army said.
violent mostly peaceful protest came on the eve of a partial evacuation of the wildcat settlement set for Friday under an agreement reached between the government and the settlers.
IDF troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
The Paleostinian Red Islamic Thingy reported it treated 61 people, including six hit by rubber bullets. The rest suffered from tear gas inhalation.
The protest came on the final night that civilians will remain at the contested site.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz reached an agreement whereby the settlers will evacuate Evyatar by 4 p.m. Friday, but the state will work to legalize control of the land and establish a yeshiva at the site at a later date.
In the meantime, the Israel Defense Forces will establish an "immediate round-the-clock presence" at the outpost.
The Defense Ministry will carry out a survey of the land to establish which parts can be declared state land and which parts are considered to be private Paleostinian property.
"Lands that are found to belong to the state will be declared as such, while those that are private will be evacuated," a statement released late Wednesday by Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo said, noting that buildings will not be demolished until the land’s status is clarified.
Bennett, a former director of the Yesha council settler lobby, was reported Sunday to be eager to avoid the spectacle of the outpost being removed under his leadership, especially given the current political situation in which the coalition is struggling to maintain a majority in the Knesset.
Earlier iterations of Evyatar have been razed several times since Israelis first tried to settle the site in 2013.
The outpost is located on land south of Nablus that Paleostinians say had historically been part of the Paleostinian villages of Beita, Kablan and Yitma, though residents of those towns have been barred access for decades over what the IDF has said were security reasons. The land went uncultivated, opening it up for confiscation by the state for public use, based on West Bank property laws. Before that can happen though, the Civil Administration is required to survey the land to confirm its status, a step that Evyatar settlers did not wait for before moving in.
The area near the outpost has seen repeated festivities in recent weeks as Paleostinians protested the creation of the outpost, in some cases hurling stones at troops and burning swaths of land. Israeli soldiers have responded with riot dispersal munitions and in some cases, live bullets, killing four Paleostinians.
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