Israel reaches compromise with Jewish settlers on West Bank outpost

Israel reaches compromise with Jewish settlers on West Bank outpost

Jerusalem: Israel has reached a compromise with Jewish settlers who rapidly established an unauthorised outpost in the occupied West Bank last month, officials and the settlers said Wednesday.

Under the agreement, the settlers will leave by the end of the week. The area will become a closed military zone, but the houses and roads will remain in place. A survey will be carried out that the settlers say will prove the outpost was not established on land privately owned by Palestinians. That would pave the way authorization, allowing them to establish a religious school and for some families to return. The settlers named the outpost Eviatar, after an Israeli killed by a Palestinian in 2013, and say it is home to dozens of families. It posed an early test for Israel's new government, which relies on a fragile coalition including parties that support and oppose the settlers.

Palestinians in nearby villages say the outpost was built on their land and fear it will grow and merge with larger settlements nearby. They have held near-daily protests against the outpost in which demonstrators hurl stones at Israeli troops, who fire tear gas and live ammunition. At least four protesters, including two teenagers, have been killed in the clashes.

The settlers announced a compromise earlier this week at a celebratory press conference, while the government said negotiations were still underway. This time, Israeli officials signalled it was a done deal.

Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's pro-settler party, tweeted that the deal is an important achievement" for the settlement movement and thanked the pioneers of Eviatar."

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