Last updated: 22 July, 2012

Israel again seeks delay to evacuate Migron outpost

Israel on Sunday again asked the Supreme Court for more time to evacuate the Migron settlement outpost, which the same court has ordered razed by August 1.

The request for a one-month extension to August 30, a copy of which was seen by AFP, was backed by the regional military commander who said the need to maintain order in the West Bank during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan justified the delay.

At a hearing on Sunday, Major General Nitzan Alon argued that possible retaliatory attacks by settlers opposed to the evacuation against Palestinians during Ramadan, and fasting, could provoke unrest.

He also noted that due to Ramadan, work underway on a nearby site to receive residents from Migron might also be delayed as it is being carried out by Muslim Palestinians.

Migron, the largest and oldest settlement outpost in the West Bank, was ordered razed by the end of March, since it was built on private Palestinian lands.

But the court later agreed to extend the deadline to August 1.

Some Migron families are resisting evacuation claiming they have recently some land on the outpost and a ministerial committee formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the state to request to allow them to remain there.

But on Sunday the representative of the state attorney’s office, Osnat Mandel, said that a police probe was underway into the possibility that the documents these families submitted claiming they bought the land were fake.

The Supreme Court is yet to decide whether it will agree to grant the authorities a new extension.

Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal and often sends security personnel to demolish them. They usually consist of little more than a few trailers.

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank — including east Jerusalem — to be illegal.