Israel: far-right ministers boycott cabinet over evacuation of illegal outpost

Bezalel Smotrich (Gil Cohen-Magen - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  January 23, 2023

Israeli ministers from the far-right Religious Zionism party boycotted the cabinet meeting on Sunday claiming that the evacuation of an illegal settler outpost in the occupied West Bank was done in violation of coalition agreements.

A spokesperson for Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the head of the party, said, “We do not intend to continue as normal, and we are weighing additional steps.”

Sources from the party cited by Israeli Channel 12 TV said that it was looking into additional ways to protest against the evacuation of the outpost.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant ordered the demolition of the illegal outpost in the northern occupied West Bank last Wednesday.

“Defence Minister Gallant ordered the evacuation to go ahead without consulting with Minister Smotrich and completely against the coalition agreements that form the basis for the existence of the government,” said Smotrich’s office.

The Times of Israel reported Channel 12 as saying that the disagreement between Gallant and Smotrich revolves around the state’s approach to old and new settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank.

All Israeli settlements for Jews only and settlement outposts are illegal under international law. The outposts are even illegal under Israeli law.