Migron home demolition 2011 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The state on Sunday asked the High Court of Justice to delay by 29 days – from
August 1 to August 30 – the evacuation of the Migron outpost.
that, based on security concerns, it did not want to evacuate the outpost during
Ramadan, which began on Friday.
It added that replacement homes had not
been fully set up in the site by the Psagot winery, where the state plans to
relocate the 50 families who live in Migron, on a small hilltop in the Binyamin
region of the West Bank.
The state presented both these positions at a
special hearing on the outpost held on Sunday before three High Court justices
in the capital.
The court has ordered the state to evacuate Migron by
August 1 because the modular homes there were built without permits on private
On Sunday, the justices also listened to arguments
with respect to a petition on behalf of Migron residents, which claims that a
company has bought much of the land from the Palestinian owners on behalf of the
settlers. During the hearing, the Attorney- General’s Office representative
asked to wait until August 20 to present its position to the court, given that
there was a disagreement between its office and the government with respect to
The newly created Ministerial Committee on Settlements, which
now sets policy for state responses to the court, said that if the land purchase
was authenticated there was no reason to evacuate the Migron homes.
court, state attorney Osnat Mandel said that according to Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein, the committee’s response was legally problematic.
that the state was already asking for a delay, her office wants to make use of
that time to hold further discussions on this issue with the political echelon,
Mandel’s statement drew immediate criticism from right-wing
National Union chairman Ya’acov Katz said he planned to
submit a bill to the Knesset mandating the firing of attorneys- general who
refused to represent the state’s position.
Attorney Michael Sfard, who
represents Peace Now, which initially petitioned the court against Migron on
behalf of the Palestinian landowners in 2006, urged the justices to hold fast to
the August 1 deadline, which was set in March.
He said the IDF should be
able to handle an evacuation during Ramadan and that it had ample time to
OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, said that until 10
days ago the IDF had assumed that Migron residents had agreed to
Now, the army was looking at the possibility that it would have
to forcibly remove them, he said.
Such an event could spark a “price-tag”
incident, in which right-wing extremists could set a fire in a mosque in
retribution, Alon said.
He added that such arson against a mosque during
Ramadan could inflame the area and lead to a terrorist attack.
therefore, prefer to wait until after Ramadan,” the general
Attorney Gershon Gontovenik, who represents Migron residents, said
his clients were not violent and he objected to statements that described them
After the hearing, Migron spokesman Itai Chemo rejected as
“pathetic” attempts to paint him and other residents of his community as
“The people of Migron bought property and are now waiting for a
court ruling on that purchase,” he said.
In court, Sfard said that he
could not believe that the possibility of violence had only come up
He noted that after Ramadan, came the High Holy Days. The state, he
said, would then argue that the outpost could not be relocated during the Jewish
Sfard added that the state should also have anticipated
the problems that have arisen in preparing the new site for Migron, 2 km. away
from the present site and near the Psagot winery.
When the state chose
the site, it knew that it had logistical difficulties, and it needed to take
responsibility for not meeting the court-mandated timetable, he said.
suggested that the state place the residents in hotel rooms or find some other