Evacuation of Migron Outpost Set to Begin, With Most Settlers Expected to Comply With Eviction

Defense Ministry personnel will distribute boxes for packing; police on standby in case eviction by force is necessary.

Defense officer for the Israel Defense Force’s Judea and Samaria sector, Lt. Col Miki Sivoni, traveled to Migron on Saturday night, in order to discuss the final details regarding the evacuation of the settlement outpost with residents. Evacuation of the settlement is set to begin on Sunday morning. Defense Ministry officials are scheduled to arrive in Migron and distribute boxes to residents who are willing to accept them.

The residents had discussed various symbolic acts of departure. One idea was to stage a march from their current homes to the temporary dwellings set up further down the hill, however, as of Saturday night, it seems that there will be no collective act, but rather each individual family will decide how to symbolize the separation.

Most of the residents are planning to pack up their belongings when security forces arrive on the scene and request that they do so. It is possible that some residents will refuse the request a symbolic act meant to convey that they are unwilling to leave, and the eviction is a forceful government move. In such a case, the security forces will forcibly evict them from their homes.

The IDF plans to to mimic the methods used for evacuating the Ulpana outpost in June. During that evacuation, there were no uniformed personnel on the scene, only civilian Defense Ministry workers, dressed in plainclothes. After the deadline set by the High Court of Justice passed, however, border patrol forces were needed to forcibly evict one family that refused to leave. As such, police forces are also on standby in case a similar situation will arise in Migron.

On Saturday, Mateh Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro'eh and Yisrael Harel, one of the founders of Gush Emunim, and the father of settlement leader Itay Harel, came to visit the settlement. The Migron residents gathered in the outpost’s synagogue, where founders of the settlement gave speeches. One of the settlers described the Shabbat as very bitter, despite the anger surrounding the eviction.

Evacuation of the settlement, which was founded in 2003, will occur following many postponements and six years after the initial filing of the petition for evacuation, citing claims that Migon was built on Palestinian land. Migron was supposed to be evacuated in 2008, and again in March 2012. The government requested a three and a half year postponement, but the High court of Justice declared that the evacuation would take place in early August. Last month, the court granted a 20-day postponement.

On Wednesday, the High Court of Justice ordered that the settlement must be evacuated within six days. The homes will be evacuated by September 11. The Supreme Court Justices did accept the government’s position regarding six buildings built on plot number 10, however, which was legally purchased. The justices declared that evacuation of those structures can wait another three months.

The residents will be moved to a temporary residence on a nearby winery, where caravans will be set up until more permanent structures are completed. The cost of the temporary site is NIS 33 million, meaning NIS 730,000 per family.

The Supreme Court had delayed several deadlines set for evacuating the settlement in the past year after last-minute appeals.

The court last week rejected an appeal by the settlers to delay the evacuation, which a separate ruling a year ago decided was built on privately owned Palestinian land.