Court delays Migron eviction until August 21

Army was concerned the eviction could set off violent settler protests in the sensitive period of Ramadan.

July 27, 2012 13:05
2 minute read.
Migron outpost

Migron outpost 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

The High Court of Justice on Friday agreed to delay the evacuation of the Migron outpost in the West Bank by 20 days, from August 1 to August 21.

The state requested a delay at a special hearing on the matter last Sunday.

For security reasons, it said, it did not want to evacuate the outpost during Ramadan, which began on July 20.

The IDF said that it was particularly worried that Jewish extremists would carry out a “price-tag” attack against a West Bank mosque in retribution for the evacuation of Migron.

The state said that a delay was also necessary for technical reasons because 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.

The court had mandated the evacuation of Migron, located on a small hilltop in the Binyamin region, by August 1 because the modular homes there were built without permits on private Palestinian property.

Earlier this month, Migron residents announced that they had purchased many of the lots on which their homes are located from the Palestinian landowners. They have since petitioned the High Court to cancel its evacuation decree, issued last August.

The 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.

During Sunday’s court hearing, state attorney Osnat Mandel said there was a disagreement between her office and the government with respect to that claim by the ministerial committee, because Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein found it legally problematic.

She said that as a result the state needed until August 20 to present its position to the court.

On Friday, the court gave the state until 1 p.m. on the 19th to present its position on Migron.

It plans to hold another hearing on Migron at 9 a.m. on August 21. The court added that it goes without saying that the state should move quickly to complete the new modular housing site for the Migron families. It gave the state until August 21 to relocate the families.

Upon hearing the court’s response on Friday, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to fire Weinstein for failing to represent the ministerial committee’s position in court. It asked Netanyahu to bring the matter to the cabinet at its meeting on Monday.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said the attorney-general’s refusal to represent the government’s position in court was “scandalous.”

Peace Now, which first filed a petition against the outpost in 2006, called on the police to quickly finish its investigation of the land purchase claims.

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