State: Migron Outpost to Be Evacuated Within Six Months

Court hears petition on Migron, built on private Palestinian land; PM striving for consensual eviction.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have decided to evacuate the unauthorized outpost of Migron by the beginning of August, the State Prosecution told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday.

The court heard a petition filed by West Bank Palestinians, on whose private land the outpost was erected.

The prosecution said that Olmert and Barak have resolved to strive to achieve within six months a consensual eviction of the outpost, whereby its residents will be relocated to an alternative site.

It also said that the state might ask for an extension if such is required.

Earlier this month, sources close to the defense minister told Haaretz that Barak had reached an agreement with leaders of the settlement movement for the peaceful evacuation of 18 outposts in the West Bank.

The sources had criticized Olmert as acting recklessly in seeking conflict with settlers on the issue of unauthorized outposts.

Olmert himself said that not evacuating outposts was "disgraceful."

"Olmert is acting with the same frivolousness that characterized his behavior in the Second Lebanon War," Barak's aides said, adding that Olmert was "endangering efforts to achieve an evacuation without violence."

The agreement between Barak and the Yesha Council, which represents the settlers in the West Bank, was struck after long months of deliberations. The talks were organized by Barak's adviser on settlements, Eitan Broshi, and the minister's chief of staff, Brigadier General Mike Herzog.

The settlers from the 18 outposts would, under the agreement, move to existing, neighboring communities. However, Barak's negotiators did not agree to allow the settlers from the various outposts to move to other outposts.

In exchange for moving to preexisting settlements, the settlers stand to receive building concessions. Additionally, Barak offered to grant them permits for infrastructure projects which the government has shelved for some time.