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US slams Israel’s plan to turn illegal settlement to military base

Washington (QNN)- The US State Department on Wednesday condemned Israel’s plan to turn an illegal settlement of Evyatar into a religious school and a military base for the Israeli army, saying this is “illegal even under Israeli law.”

“We believe it is critical to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance equal measures of freedom, security and prosperity and a negotiated two-state solution,” a State Department spokesperson said when asked for comment on Evyatar.

“This certainly includes establishing new outposts which are illegal even under Israeli law.”

A source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel that the US has been monitoring Evyatar since its establishment in late April and had been hoping the occupation government would take steps to remove it, given that the Defense Ministry had acknowledged that it was built without the proper permits on land that does not belong to the occupation.

The occupation authorities plan to evacuate dozens of Israeli settlers on Friday from the illegal settlement of Eviatar in the occupied West Bank, after a deal was reached between a settler leader and the occupation government of new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Yossi Dagan, head of settler organisation the Shomron Regional Council, struck a deal with Israel’s defence minister, Benny Gantz, and interior minister Ayelet Shaked, that will turn Eviatar into a religious school and a military base for the Israeli forces.

‘Israel’ will keep about 50 caravan houses settlers installed in May on Palestinian lands belonging to the residents of the occupied West Bank village of Beita, while settlers would “return” to the land when Israeli occupation authorities designate it as “state-owned.”

In early May, a group of Israeli settlers set up caravans on Jabal Sabih, and with the help of Israeli occupation forces have since prevented any Palestinian access to the area.

Within days, settlers installed mobile houses, built roads and raised an Israeli flag over the settlement.

Since then, Beita has witnessed several protests against the new settler outpost on Jabal Sabih, which lies on the southern outskirts of the village and comprises an estimated 30 percent of Beita’s entire land area.

The livelihoods of at least 17 Palestinian families – more than 100 people – are threatened as they depend on harvesting their olives on land they have owned for generations.

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