State vows to demolish Migron outpost homes in 45 days

Demolition will mark first time gov't razes permanent structures in a West Bank outpost since bulldozing of Amona homes in 2006.

June 13, 2011 01:09
3 minute read.
Police remove settlers from Mitzpeh Ramon

Settler removal 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The state has pledged to destroy three permanent structures in the West Bank outpost of Migron within 45 days.

Security forces have moved in recent years against caravans and other structures, including those made from stone, in newly created minioutposts.

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But if the state makes good on its pledge in Migron, 5 km. north of Jerusalem, it will mark the first time that it has destroyed permanent homes in a “full-fledged” outpost since it demolished nine stones houses on the edge of the Amona outpost in February 2006.

The Amona homes were destroyed, after hours of fierce clashes, just before they were inhabited.

According to attorney Michael Sfard, who filed a petition against Migron, families already inhabit these three homes.

Sfard petitioned the High Court of Justice this spring through the organization Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights on behalf of the Palestinian owners of the land on which the homes are located.

Separately, the court is expected next month to hear a Peace Now petition against the entire outpost, which is made up mostly of caravans.

Migron is home to around 50 families. It is the largest of 24 outposts constructed after prime minister Ariel Sharon took office in March 2001, which Israel had promised the US it would remove.

Since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took office in 2009, Israel has changed its stance on some 100 West Bank outposts, including those 24. It has looked to legalize outposts constructed on state land and to evacuate those built on private Palestinian land, such as Migron.

In a number of responses to court petitions on outposts, however, the state has said that for diplomatic reasons it is not looking at this time to move against the small, unauthorized hilltop communities on Palestinian-owned land.

Migron, however, is unique among the outposts.

In 2008, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip stuck a deal with the government, in which it promised that Migron would be voluntarily removed to the nearby settlement of Geva Binyamin (Adam) within two years.

Sfard said that while plans for the new homes in Geva Binyamin have been approved, no construction has begun. He added that he has submitted an affidavit to the court by a former head of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria who said it could take up to seven years to finish those homes.

The residents of Migron say that their land could easily be reclassified as state land and that only politics has kept their community from receiving legal status.

Migron was first constructed in May 2001 near the Kochav Ya’acov settlement.

Although it lacked the necessary permits, it was given NIS 4.3 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing for infrastructure and public buildings.

Migron residents have in the past said that they would refuse to leave their homes, despite of the agreement reached with the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

In the past three years they have worked to expand their outpost, building the three new homes, which were only recently completed.

Sfard said that according to a response the state submitted to the High Court on Thursday evening, the state plans to move against the homes by July 24.

He noted that two days later, on July 26, the court is scheduled to hear the Peace Now petition regarding the evacuation of the entire outpost.

He speculated that the state had agreed to move against the three homes in an effort to placate the court in advance of the larger hearing on the outpost.

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