The Migron outpost
A Jewish settler walks near temporary homes in the unauthorized Jewish outpost of Migron near the West Bank city of Ramallah, February 6, 2012. Photo by Reuters
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Michal Fattal
A sign in Migron reads: Migron - a defensive shield for settlement. Photo by Michal Fattal

The government demanded on Saturday that 30 residents of the Migron outpost evacuate to a temporary site by the end of August – otherwise, it will not support the request of 17 residents to remain on the land they claimed to have purchased recently.

The outpost was originally supposed to be evacuated by the end of July. However, a short time beforehand, 17 families petitioned the decision to the High Court, claiming that they had purchased the land from the original Palestinian owners, thus removing any legal basis for Peace Now’s original petition which called for removing the settlers. The judges requested the state’s stance on the petition, and froze the evacuation until August 29, when they will discuss the residents’ claims.

The government has been working hard to form a stance over the past couple of weeks. The Ministerial Committee on Settlements, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has already decided to tell the High Court that it will check the option of establishing a new settlement in the area. However, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ruled out the possibility, as it brings up legal difficulties.

Meanwhile, Migron residents have initiated a fundraising campaign in an attempt to purchase the land on which the settlement was built. Donations are being collected through charitable foundations so that they are tax-free.

The campaign has been centered in religious-Zionist media outlets and weekly digests. Migron residents explained that over the last year, the option to purchase the land was presented to them, which they say debunks “Peace Now’s” court petition to evict residents on the grounds that they are squatting on private land.

Costs of purchasing land in this area are very high in relation to the value of the land itself. According to estimations, Migon residents will pay upwards of $3 million for 3 different plots and part of a fourth plot. The money has come from donors in the United States.

Cuurrently, Migron residents are asking for the public’s health in the campaign entitled “4 amot [a halakhic term, measurement of 2 meters] for 400 shekels” in order to fund further purchases.

Migron resident claim that “seeing as 15 structures remain in question, and we can make more purchases, there is a realistic possibility of leaving Migron unchanged, and we trust that the general public will be happy to support us.”

Ads in Migron promise tax refunds to anyone that donates to the cause. The donations themselves pass through external charitable foundations that are coordinating the purchasing and legal efforts. The donations are tax free. In the past, Haaretz has uncovered that the Israeli right has used charitable organizations to transfer funds to settlements.