Migron settlers at TA Human Rights March.
(photo credit: Moshe Rafaeli)
Both settlers and Palestinians were left with a sense of victory Thursday after
the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled on a technicality with regard to the
The court accepted a decision by Palestinians who claim
ownership of the Migron land to withdraw a civil suit, which they had first
filed in 2008.
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It ordered the Palestinians to pay compensation fees of
NIS 7,000 to the Migron settlers and NIS 12,000 to the state toward court
Migron’s attorney Amir Fischer claimed the Palestinians withdrew
their claim at the moment in the process when they had to provide proof of land
Their decision to withdraw their civil suits shows that “they
lied and have no proof” to back up their claims, he said.
argued that the court should not allow the Palestinians to withdraw their suit
and should have forced them to prove their claim.
“With this ruling the
court allowed the plaintiffs to run away,” he said.
He noted that the
court ordered compensation, and the withdrawal itself went a long way to proving
the Migron residents’ point that the land belonged to them.
Shlomy Zachary who represents the Palestinians along with attorney Michael
Sfard, on behalf of Yesh Din, said that the opposite was true.
suit was filed when the Palestinians believed the state had no intention of
moving against Migron, Zachary said.
When the High Court of Justice this
summer ordered the outpost to be removed by the end of March, the Palestinians
asked the court to allow their claim to be withdrawn, he said.
that it came at the point in the legal process where proof of ownership was
required was coincidental, he said.
Proof of ownership had to be given to
the court when the civil suit was first filed, Zachary added.
Both he and
Sfard pointed to a critical line in the court’s decision, which stated that:
“There is no basis to the claim that the plaintiff’s lack evidence to prove
their rights to the land.”
Sfard said he rejected any attempt by the
settlers to spin this as a victory.
“It’s part of a [settler] campaign to
lay the groundwork for the violation of the High Court of Justice ruling,” he
Separate from the civil suit, Migron residents have a suit pending
before a district court regarding land ownership of the outpost, which is
located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, just outside of Jerusalem. It
is home to 50 families.