Israeli Supreme Court Orders Settlement In West Bank Be Evacuated And Returned To Palestinians
Jerusalem, Israel -
The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the Israeli Migron settlement located on a hilltop in the West Bank must be evacuated and destroyed. The land will be returned to Palestinians whom the court said owned the land.
"We order the petitioners be evacuated from the outpost not later than September 4, 2012 and that the buildings be removed no later than September 11, 2012. The appeal has been rejected."
Numerous appeals had been filed over the last year delaying the removal of the settlement, some claiming they had bought the land and others claiming their new housing is not yet ready.
The Palestinians claim to the West Bank is to be part of their future territory and the court found the land in question for this dispute was in fact owned by a Palestinian.
The settlement was built over a decade ago and the government of Israel has considered it an unauthorized settlement.
Migron settlers charged the state encouraged them to erect their outpost. Though it never received official sanction, the government has spent at least 4 million shekels ($1.1 million) on maintaining the cluster of mobile homes.
The Israeli authorities have voiced concern that settlers could respond violently to any evacuation orders. Earlier on Wednesday, a Palestinian vehicle was torched in a village not far from Migron, and the words "Price tag- Migron" was scribbled on a wall. There were no reported injuries.
The United Nations deems all Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal. Israel disputes this and distinguishes between about 120 settlements it has sanctioned and about 100 outposts erected by settlers without authorization.