On April 10, thousands of Israelis, including government ministers, gathered to march toward the evacuated Evyatar outpost in the occupied West Bank to promote settlement expansion. The demonstrators, chanting religious slogans and waving Israeli flags, were met with a counter-protest by Palestinians, resulting in 191 reported injuries.
Image Source: Reuters
One of the Israeli supporters, Shlomo Goren, a biologist from Bet Shemesh, expressed his support for the legalization of the outpost as promised in coalition agreements. The far-right security chief Itamar Ben-Gvir also participated in the demonstration and emphasized the need for a national guard, which the government authorized last week to address Arab unrest.
However, concerns were raised by political rivals that granting Ben-Gvir direct command of the force could lead to it turning into a sectarian “militia.”
Since the beginning of the year, there has been a surge in Palestinian attacks against Israelis, resulting in the deaths of 19 Israelis and tourists.
On Monday, hospital officials announced that the mother of two Israeli sisters who were killed in a shooting attack in the occupied West Bank last week had also died of her wounds. The U.K. Foreign Minister James Cleverly tweeted that there was no justification for the murder of Leah and her two daughters, Maia and Rina.
The new far-right Israeli government has introduced several policies to promote settlement recognition and expansion. Last month, the Israeli parliament modified a 2005 law that mandated the evacuation of four settlements in the West Bank, allowing Jewish settlers to return to these areas.
This move was criticized by the Palestinian Authority and the European Union. Furthermore, in February, Israel retroactively recognized eight illegal West Bank outposts, which were also denounced by international organizations.
Since the 1967 war, Israel has established approximately 140 settlements on land that Palestinians envision as the nucleus of their future state. Additionally, groups of settlers have erected numerous outposts without government authorization. Palestinians aspire to have an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem as its capital. The situation in the region remains highly volatile, with ongoing clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. The recent events highlight the deep-rooted divisions and the challenge of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict. The international community continues to call for an end to settlement expansion and for both sides to engage in dialogue to reach a lasting.