Migron Residents Ignore State's Offer to Help Them Move

Settlers disagree on court deadline to leave illegal outpost voluntarily.

Starting today, the Defense Ministry is offering to help Migron residents move their belongings to a temporary home at a nearby site prepared by the state. But as of last night, none had sought such assistance, due to a legal dispute over whether the deadline for leaving the settlement outpost voluntarily falls before or after a High Court of Justice hearing scheduled for 10 A.M. on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, settler leaders held feverish talks with the army in an effort to determine whether it plans to forcibly evacuate 30 families from Migron in the next two days. Those 30 families live on land that has never been purchased from its Palestinian owners.

Everyone agrees that Migron's other 17 families, whose claim to have purchased the land on which their houses sit is the subject of the High Court hearing, can remain until after it takes place, but there is disagreement over whether a temporary stay issued by the court also extends to the other 30.

Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, wrote to Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Roeh this weekend warning that the 30 families must be out before the hearing. Otherwise, he said, their agreement with the state will be void, including the state's obligation to move them to the nearby temporary site.

Based on their talks with the army, settler leaders don't think the families will be forcibly evicted before the hearing. Nevertheless, some believe it would be wiser for them to leave voluntarily before then, as that would strengthen the others' demand that they be allowed to stay.

On the other hand, an email sent by the Defense Ministry's human resources department to other department heads indicates that the evacuation may be imminent. The email, first published by Israel National News (Arutz Sheva ), said that several illegal settlement outposts are slated for evacuation over the next two weeks ("exact dates to follow" ), and asked them to seek volunteers from their departments who would be willing to work overtime on the relevant days.

On Friday, Migron residents demonstrated opposite the Prime Minister's Office to protest the state's response to their petition. The response held that even the 17 families who claim to have purchased their land must leave, due to both building code violations and the fact that part of the access road lies on privately-owned Palestinian land.