Border Police tend to the illegal Tzur Harel outpost (video snippet)

In a dramatic escalation, Israeli Border Police forces arrived at the controversial site of Tzur Harel in the Benjamin Region, north of Jerusalem, to forcibly remove seven defiant Israeli activists. This contentious site, recently a hotbed of violent clashes, has once again become the focal point of a broader conflict over illegal settlements in Judea and Samaria.

Last week, Tzur Harel was the scene of severe violence when radical Israelis launched a barrage of rocks and Molotov cocktails at a large contingent of Border Police officers. The confrontation occurred during an evacuation operation that saw the demolition of rudimentary buildings erected at the site. The intensity of the violence underscored the deep-seated tensions between right-wing activists and Israeli authorities.

In the aftermath of the incident, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) declared the land surrounding the outpost a closed military zone, effectively barring civilian entry. Despite this, activists have demonstrated unwavering resolve, noting that today鈥檚 evacuation marks the sixth attempt to remove them since last week's original evacuation and demolition.

Celebratory Defiance at Evyatar: A Symbol of Right-Wing Persistence

Amid the turbulence at Tzur Harel, hundreds right-wing activists converged at the formerly-illegal Samaria outpost of Evyatar for a celebratory prayer service. This gathering was in honor of a recent cabinet decision to legalize the outpost, alongside four other contentious settlements. The event, which commenced at the early hour of 5 a.m., was a vivid display of solidarity and defiance, complete with a band and spirited dancing.

Prominent figures such as MKs Tzvi Succot and Moshe Solomon from the far-right Religious Zionism party, Shomron Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, and Chief Rabbi of Safed Shmuel Eliyahu attended the service. Their presence signified a powerful endorsement of the activists' cause.

Rabbi Eliyahu, addressing the congregation, referenced U.S. President Joe Biden鈥檚 reported opposition to the legalization of these outposts. 鈥淎 week ago, Biden declared that Evyatar was a red line and should not be legalized under any circumstances,鈥 Eliyahu said. 鈥淏ut it seems there was a higher power at play鈥 This victory teaches us that it is not merely a government decision that led to the legalization of these five settlements; it is God鈥檚 counsel.鈥

A Vision for Expansion: Breaking the Barriers in Judea and Samaria

Yossi Dagan, a key figure in the settlement movement, articulated a broader vision during his address. He emphasized that Evyatar is more than just a settlement; it represents a revolutionary idea challenging the restrictions on establishing new settlements in Judea, Samaria, and the broader Land of Israel.

鈥淲e are standing here and telling the government of Israel and the entire world that there will be many, many more Evyatars in Samaria,鈥 Dagan declared, underscoring the settlers' determination to continue their expansion efforts.

Evyatar, which has seen multiple cycles of establishment and evacuation, was most recently repopulated in June 2023 following a terror attack outside the nearby settlement of Eli. Since then, the government had tacitly allowed the outpost to remain, culminating in a cabinet decision at the end of June that retroactively approved its establishment.

Legal Hurdles and Future Prospects

Despite the cabinet鈥檚 decision, Evyatar and the other four outposts will require retroactive approval from the Civil Administration for the construction of residential buildings before they can be formally considered legal. However, it is widely believed that this approval is a mere formality and unlikely to be rejected.

As the situation unfolds, Tzur Harel and Evyatar stand as potent symbols of the ongoing conflict and the Israelis activists' unyielding resolve. These flashpoints continue to shape the discourse around settlement activity in Judea and Samaria, reflecting the broader struggle over the future of the region.

Sign Up For The Judean Newsletter

I agree with the Terms and conditions and the Privacy policy