(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Residents of the West Bank outpost of Migron have submitted documents to the High Court of Justice, which they say prove they recently purchased a significant portion of the land on which their community is built.
Based on this purchase, they have asked the court to amend its mandate that the 50 families who live in the outpost must vacate the property by August 1.
Migron residents asked the court to allow those families who live on the newly purchased properties to remain.
The court on Tuesday placed a gag order on any information that would reveal the identity of the Palestinian landowners who allegedly sold the property.
The court did not state the reason for the gag order. Palestinians who sell property to Jews can be subject to a death penalty imposed by the Palestinian Authority; it is assumed that the gag order relates to this threat.
The High Court of Justice on Tuesday agreed to debate the issue on July 15. It asked the state to respond to the request by July 7, and also gave Peace Now until the 11th to respond.
Peace Now originally petitioned the court against the outpost on behalf on the Palestinian landowners.
Last year in a binding ruling, the court ordered Migron residents to evacuate the outpost because it was built without permits on land classified by the state as private Palestinian property.
Migron residents had argued that the land status issues with regard to their community had never been properly adjudicated. They said some of the lots were abandoned property and that in other instances they had purchased the property from Palestinian landowners years ago.
The issue of land status is now before a Jerusalem District Court. Migron spokesman Itai Chemo did not clarify if Migron residents have now repurchased the same plots or if they bought the lots they believe are abandoned property.
In March Migron residents signed a deal with the government under which they would relocate their outpost within two years to a tract of state land two kilometers away, next to the Psagot winery.
The court rejected the twoyear timetable and insisted that the families relocate by August 1. Migron families have continued to seek an alternative that would allow them to remain in their homes.
In the interim the Binyamin Regional Council, under whose jurisdiction Migron is located, is building an alternative modular housing site for the families by the Psagot winery that will be ready by August 1.
According to a 2005 report on outposts authored for the government by attorney Talia Sasson, Migron was built in May 2001 with NIS 4.3 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing.