The Migron Affair Is a Badge of Shame for Israel

The eviction of the Migron settlers, without any need to employ force, is good news for the rule of law in Israel.

Evicting someone from the house where he has lived for years, where he has tended his garden and where his children were born, is not supposed to be a joyous occasion. But the eviction of the Migron settlers, without any need to employ force, is good news for the rule of law in Israel. Despite the political pressure and many attempts to postpone implementation of the eviction order, the justice and law enforcement systems passed the test.

The bad news is that an outpost established through deceit, without a permit, and on privately-owned Palestinian land managed to dispossess the land's rightful owners for more than a decade. Despite stop-work and demolition orders, residents of the outpost enjoyed generous assistance from state authorities. Even though Talia Sasson's report on the outposts determined back in 2005 that Migron was illegal, Israel didn't uphold its commitment to evacuate it, along with 23 other outposts established after the Sharon government took power in March 2001.

The Migron affair is a badge of shame for all Israeli governments of the past decade, but a badge of honor for Israeli human rights organizations and peace activists. Were it not for the legal assistance and moral support that Peace Now gave the landowners, Migron would still be flourishing on stolen land.

This is amply proven by the ongoing political and economic assistance extended to the outpost enterprise, in blatant contempt for the law and justice. The tens of millions of shekels that the government invested in establishing alternative settlements for the Migron evacuees shows the public that in the land of the settlers, crime pays.

The issue of the illegal outposts isn't a political one to be settled via negotiations on a final-status agreement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak must fulfill their responsibilities toward Palestinian residents of Area C (the 61 percent of the West Bank where all the settlements stand, and which the Oslo Accords assigned to full Israeli control ).

Instead of repeatedly urging the courts to postpone implementation of administrative and judicial orders, courting the lawbreakers and showering them with public money, both the government and the legal establishment should evacuate all the outposts without delay, starting with those located on private Palestinian land. They would thereby honor their obligation to the rule of law while also advancing the two-state solution.