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In a display of brazen defiance, thousands of Israeli settlers, led by no less than seven Cabinet ministers, embarked on a march towards a West Bank settlement that had been evacuated in 2021. The march is taking place amidst a backdrop of escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over a contested holy site in Jerusalem. Israel’s right-wing government, considered the most extreme in the nation’s history, remains steadfast in its determination to accelerate settlement building on occupied lands, despite widespread international opposition.


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March to Eviatar: Unpacking the Motives and Organizers

The march, which specifically targets the unauthorised settlement outpost of Eviatar in the northern West Bank, is being spearheaded by a group of hard-line ultranationalist Jewish settlers. The organizers of the march have made their demands clear: the reestablishment and legalization of the Eviatar settlement.

The political climate under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who leads the most religious and ultranationalist government in Israel’s history, has emboldened the settler movement. Several members of his Cabinet, including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir – both of whom are West Bank settlers – along with at least 20 members of Knesset, are expected to join the march.

Amidst Heightened Tensions: The Al-Aqsa Mosque Controversy

The timing of this march could not be more sensitive, given the ongoing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians over Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Last week, a police raid during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan resulted in heightened unrest in the area. The hilltop shrine is considered by Jews as the Temple Mount, their faith’s holiest site, while for Muslims it is known as the Noble Sanctuary, home of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is the third holiest site in Islam.

This flashpoint has added further fuel to the already contentious issue of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which the international community widely regards as illegal and a major obstacle to achieving peace with the Palestinians.

The West Bank Settlement Conundrum: The Palestinian Quest for Independence and Israel’s Priorities

The Israeli occupation of the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, dates back to the 1967 Middle East war. Israel has since constructed dozens of settlements in the territory, which are now home to over half a million Jewish settlers.

The international community remains largely united in its view that Israel’s settlement enterprise in the West Bank is illegal and hinders the possibility of a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The latter, for their part, seek the West Bank, along with Gaza and east Jerusalem, as part of their future independent state.

Despite this, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has consistently prioritized the expansion of settlements, in a move that has drawn widespread criticism from across the globe. The march to Eviatar is but one more example of the Israeli government’s commitment to settlement expansion, despite the protests and objections of the international community.

The march of Jewish settlers towards the evacuated West Bank outpost of Eviatar underscores the growing divide between Israelis and Palestinians. The timing of the march, amid escalating tensions over Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, has only served to heighten the already volatile situation.

The Israeli government’s prioritization of settlement expansion in the West Bank, in defiance of international condemnation, continues to be a major obstacle to achieving peace in the region. With the most right-wing government in Israel’s history at the helm, and hard-line ultranationalist Jewish settlers emboldened by this leadership, the prospects for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict appear increasingly remote.

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Hi I'm Oliver Smith, I would say that I take great pride in my work as a journalist and strive to produce high-quality, impactful stories that make a difference. With more than eight years of experience under my belt, I am passionate about uncovering the truth and shining a light on issues that matter.


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