Migron Settlement - Yesh Din - June 11, 2011
One of the structures to be demolished in Migron Settlement, this month. Photo by Yesh Din
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered on Saturday the demolition of three buildings under construction in the illegal Migron outpost in the northern West Bank.

The outpost was erected on private Palestinian land. In 2006, the Peace Now movement filed a petition on behalf of the land owners, demanding the outpost be evacuated and the land returned to its owners.

After lengthy proceedings, the state reached a compromise with the Yesha Council, permitting it to build a neighborhood for the Migron residents in the Geva Binyamin settlement. The compromise was rejected by the residents.

The planning phase of the new neighborhood is progressing slowly. Meanwhile, construction of three new buildings has begun recently after a long construction freeze. Barak's order reflects a current trend in the Palestinian territories, whereby the Civil Administration demolishes buildings in outposts that are not backed by the Yesha Council.

These include Havat Gilad, Alei Ayin, Maoz Esther, Gaon Hayarden, Mitzpe Avihai and Givat Ronen. In contrast, the Civil Administration tends not to interfere with outposts that are supported by the Yesha Council.

Last week the human rights organization Yesh Din filed a petition to demolish the structures. On Friday, the state replied that they will be demolished within 45 days. "The Ministry of Defense will not put up with the construction of new buildings in the Migron outpost," it said in a statement.

Danny Dayan, the head of the Yesha Council, called the move a disgrace. "When I see the lack of law enforcement on the illegal construction by Palestinians in Area C, and on the other hand the freeze on building permits on our side, there is no greater injustice than demolishing Jewish homes."

He added that "while Palestinians are uniting against Israel, there is no greater foolishness than to create a rift and separation among us."