Eviatar, West Bank, Jun 30 (EFE).- Shalon is celebrating her 8th birthday in a spartan prefabricated home inside this unauthorized Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank amid the acrid fumes of tires set ablaze by residents of the neighboring Palestinian village of Beita to denounce the presence of the settlers.
The rapid rise of Eviatar has triggered a wave of protests by Palestinians at the site 9 km (5.6 mi) south of Nablus, the second-most-populous city in the West Bank.
And though the Israeli government officially regards the “outpost” as illegal, the troops it has deployed to defend Eviatar have killed five protesters in less than a month.
The flare-up prompted the new Israeli government to negotiate the temporary evacuation of the settlers pending a land survey to determine ownership of the land beneath it.
“We have agreed to leave only because it is temporary,” settler Ayelet Schlissel told Efe. “We want to make sure that in the future we can permanently return to this beautiful place that we have built from scratch.”
Under the deal with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who supports the settlers but leads a coalition that includes parties opposed to settlements, Israeli troops will move into the prefab homes at the site when the settlers leave.
More than 1,500 Israelis flocked to Eviatar last Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, to celebrate the creation of the settlement.
Since starting work last month, the settlers have put up 50 buildings to accommodate 53 families, including the Schlissels: Ayelet, her husband and their five children, who abandoned a spacious two-story home in another settlement for a humbler dwelling in Eviatar.
“It’s the right thing,” Ayelet said of the move to Eviatar, though acknowledging the unpleasantness of living with the “attacks” by the Palestinians.
Two of the five protesters killed were teenagers and the United Nations says that 100 Palestinians have been wounded by live rounds fired from the guns of Israeli soldiers.
Palestinians draw comparisons between the situation in Beita with the evictions of Arabs from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, to make the properties available to Jewish settlers.
Disturbances in and around Sheikh Jarrah played a role in sparking the eruption last month of violence between Israel and Palestinian armed factions that left nearly 250 people dead in Gaza and a dozen more in Israel. EFE