Fear of Ramadan delays eviction of Migron outpost
By Maayan Lubell, Reuters
July 27, 2012
Israel’s Supreme Court on Friday granted a government request to delay the eviction of the largest illegal settler outpost in the occupied West Bank.
The court had previously ruled the outpost, Migron, was built on privately owned Palestinian land and had ordered the government to remove it by August 1. Friday’s ruling extended the deadline to August 21.
The government told the court on Sunday that the temporary site set up for Migron’s 50 families to move to would not be ready in time.
The army also said it was concerned the eviction could set off violent protests by settlers in the sensitive period of Ramadan and asked to delay the task until after the Muslim holiday was over.
The United Nations deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Israel disputes this and distinguishes between about 120 settlements it has sanctioned and about 100 outposts erected by settlers without official authorization.
Migron settlers have long said they were encouraged by the state to erect the hilltop outpost. Though it never received official sanction, the government has spent at least 4 million shekels ($1.1 million) on maintaining the cluster of mobile homes.
The Jewish state cites biblical and historical ties to the West Bank, which it captured along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in those territories and say the settlements deny them a contiguous, viable state. About 311,000 Israeli settlers and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank.
By Washington Post
July 27, 2012
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Supreme Court on Friday delayed by at least three weeks the scheduled evacuation of an unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost that has become a symbol of settler defiance.
The court said it has scheduled another hearing for the state to argue its case against the evacuation on Aug. 21, after previously ordering the Migron outpost be dismantled by Aug. 1.
The Migron outpost, about 15 kilometers (10 miles) north of Jerusalem, was built on privately owned Palestinian land, a practice the court outlawed decades ago. The state asked to delay the operation until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, citing security concerns that an evacuation during this period could set off clashes between settlers and Palestinians.Migron settlers have resisted efforts to dismantle the enclave, challenging Palestinian claims of ownership and petitioning the court to remain in their homes. Israeli police is investigating whether Migron residents used forged land deal documents as part of the effort.
The government, meanwhile, has negotiated a deal with Migron’s 300 settlers to build new homes for them on a nearby hilltop. But the military is concerned that some residents will still resist removal, and zealots from other settlements could also clash with soldiers.
Ultranationalists began settling Migron more than a decade ago. The government says the settlers took over the territory unlawfully in 2001.
Palestinians want the West Bank to be at the core of their future state and consider all Israeli settlements to be illegal — not just the unauthorized outposts.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war.
Friday’s court ruling is just the latest in a drawn-out legal battle over Migron. In March, the court rejected a government request to delay the evacuation until 2015, but gave it a four-month extension. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to respect the court decision, but his government is also wary of creating a conflict with the settler community.