The High Court of Justice on Sunday ordered the IDF to evacuate the West Bank
outpost of Migron by August 1, rejecting a bid by the state to delay such a move
until November 30, 2015.
Supreme Court President Asher Dan Grunis said
the evacuation order issued by the court last August was “an obligation, not an
“[Court rulings are] a necessary component of the rule of law to
which all are subject, as part of Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic
state,” Grunis wrote.
The Migron outpost, located in the Binyamin region,
5 km. north of Jerusalem, was established more than a decade ago, with NIS 4.3
million from the Construction and Housing Ministry. It was built without the
proper authorization on land classified by the state as belonging to private
Last August, in response to a petition by Peace Now, the
High Court ordered the state to evacuate Migron by March 31.
Earlier this month, the state asked the court to set aside that
ruling in favor of an agreement it had brokered with all 50 Migron families to
relocate the outpost to state land 2 km. away within three and a half
The state argued that it wanted to reach a “peaceful agreement”
with Migron residents.
However, the justices said that the state had made
it clear all along that settlements cannot be built on private Palestinian land
– something that Ministerwithout- Portfolio Bennie Begin himself had clarified
in Thursday’s hearing before the court on the issue, they emphasized.
the state has made clear, nobody is authorized to permit the establishment of a
settlement on private land,” the ruling said.
However, in rejecting the
state’s request on Sunday, Grunis and Justices Salim Joubran and Miriam Naor
said that the court’s original ruling must be upheld, although they agreed to
delay the evacuation for five months, until the end of July.
justices said Migron residents may harbor justified resentment against the state
and its authorities.
But the justices said that mitigating the plight of
Migron’s residents should not continue to come at the expense of the Palestinian
petitioners by failing to uphold the rule of law.
The state’s deal with
Migron residents included delaying the outpost’s evacuation for years, the
The court criticized the state for filing its request to
set aside the court ruling at such a short time before the court-appointed March
31 deadline for Migron’s evacuation.
Apart from its deal with the
settlers, the state had not offered the court any alternative request to extend
the deadline for the evacuation, the justices added.
justices said, in order to allow Migron’s children to finish the school year
before being evacuated, the court would permit the deadline for the evacuation
to be extended to August 1.
In their ruling, the justices also noted that
in last week’s court hearing on the matter, the Palestinian petitioners had
expressed resentment of Begin, who brokered the relocation agreement with the
Migron families on behalf of the government.
Begin and the Migron
residents excluded them from their negotiations over the outpost, even though
those negotiations had been over the use of their private land, the Palestinian
The justices also noted that during Thursday’s hearing,
Begin clarified that since 1979, the government’s policy had been to only allow
settlement on state land.
Begin, the justices said, had made it clear
that for him, the starting point of the discussion was the court ruling and the
evacuation of Migron.
However, the minister argued that Migron’s
residents felt the government, which had spent millions of shekels on the
outpost, had sent them to settle Migron.
“Begin said he attached great
importance to carrying out the evacuation agreement, and that it proved that
ultimately even people convinced of their ideology understood they had no choice
but to accept the verdict,” the justices noted in Sunday’s ruling.
justices said that while the High Court had the authority to extend the
deadlines it set for its court rulings to be implemented, it only exercised this
authority in exceptional cases to prevent “gross injustice.”
extending deadlines where there was no justification to do so may damage the
principle of the rule of law, the court found.
Finally, the justices
cited former Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch’s words at the end of the
court’s August 2011 ruling.
“We can only wish that the residents of the
outpost will come to their senses and agree to accept their duty not to appear
as lawbreakers, and that they will settle any other site that the state deems
fit to allow them,” Beinisch wrote.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this