Settlers evacuated from West Bank outpost

2012-09-02 20:53

Migron - Israel completed evacuation of a large unauthorised West Bank settlement outpost on Sunday, culminating years of legal wrangling in a case that has become a rallying cry for hardline settler groups opposed to any withdrawal from occupied land claimed by the Palestinians.

By midday, all of Migron's roughly 300 residents had left, authorities said, two days ahead of a court-ordered deadline to clear out.

The fate of Jewish settlements lies at the heart of a three-year impasse in Mideast peace efforts. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate while Israel continues to expand settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. They say the settlement construction is a show of bad faith.

Most of Migron's residents left voluntarily and peacefully, but officers dragged out a few youths who had holed themselves up in an evacuated trailer home. At another white prefab home, where a toy tractor and a bicycle with training wheels were left discarded outside, several youths climbed to the roof waving a large Israeli flag and refused to come down.

Authorities began loading residents' belongings onto large trucks, to be moved to temporary dwellings in an area settlement before Migron residents move into new homes elsewhere in the West Bank just a few kilometres away as part of a compromise with the residents.

Altogether, police arrested eight youths, all of them non-residents who came to Migron to protest the eviction. There were no reports of injuries.

Some 500 000 Israelis now live on occupied lands, nearly all of them in east Jerusalem or full-fledged settlements in the West Bank.

But several thousand live in the dozens of unauthorized outposts that dot the West Bank. Israel has repeatedly promised to remove unauthorised outposts, but in reality taken very little action. In many cases, officials have even been complicit, hooking up outposts to the power grid and providing access roads for the residents.

Built in 2001 by ultra-nationalist Israelis just 15km north of Jerusalem, Migron is among the largest outposts, and was widely seen as a symbol of the government's refusal or inability to confront the powerful settler lobby.

Final deadline

Last year, Israel's Supreme Court determined the outpost was built on private Palestinian land and must be dismantled, but petitions by the government and settlers delayed the pull-out until now. After approving several delays in recent months, the Supreme Court last week set Tuesday as the final deadline.

In a text message from the Prime Minister's office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his support for settlement - an issue dear to his base - despite having carried out, eventually, the court-ordered evacuation.

"We are committed to respecting the rule of law and we are committed to strengthening the settlement enterprise," he said.

"The pain is very great," said longtime settler leader Pinchas Wallerstein on Israel Radio. But Migron settler spokesperson Itai Hemo told Army Radio that "there are many paths to victory," vowing Migron's evacuation would lead to two new settlements.

Anti-settlement activist Hagit Ofran of the dovish group Peace Now, who brought the Migron case to the Israeli court, also claimed victory.

Israeli settlers "are used to putting facts on the ground which become Israeli policy. We managed to prove that they are not above the law," Ofran said.

Israeli officials have worked to avoid the messy spectacle of forced evacuation that took place with previous settlement pull-outs.

Also on Sunday, Israeli police said they arrested three Arab men suspected of having poisoned an Israeli family, a crime police said was politically motivated.

The three men - one Palestinian and two Arab citizens of Israel - are accused of having broken into the family's home last year and lacing a bottle of water with poison, from which the family members drank.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said a gag order on the case was lifted on Sunday, but the men were arrested last month. The suspects are to be charged with attempted murder, he said.

Attacks by Palestinians on Israelis have become less frequent in recent years, but the poisoning incident was especially rare.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-02 22:41

    Why not decamp the whole of Israel while at it, which is nothing more than a military outpost.

      juannepierre - 2012-09-03 04:20

      To you maybe

      zaatheist - 2012-09-03 05:50

      You have to excuse fidel. He is hopelessly brainwashed with a pathological hatred of Jews, Israel and Western democracy. Having said that, it is inevitable that Israel can only hope for long term peace if it is prepared to compromise and negotiate a future based upon the borders that existed prior to 1967. All settlement building on Palestinian land must cease forthwith, not just the for a few of these settlements.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-03 06:41

      Fidel, your filth is showing. Israel will never be 'de-camped'. Zaathist, Israel will not compromise at all. It won the right to set the terms of peace with the Palestinians, and we must never forget the true intentions of the Arabs and muslims, which is to eradicate all of Israel. The cry for a Palestinian state is a pretext to regain territorial advantage in order to continue the war on Israel. Why should Israel give an inch - instaed they should be taking a yard every day, and force the Palestinians hand.

      zaatheist - 2012-09-03 09:03

      Larry The last time I heard your claims was by John Vorster in the 1970's. En kyk how lyk hulle nou! History is not on your side and your imaginary god is not going to help you either. There are none so blind ..............

      Larry - 2012-09-03 09:16

      I am not John Forster and the situation in Israel cannot be compared to Apartheid South Africa. To do so is tantamount to low intelligence.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-03 11:59

      @zaatheist "Western democracy", is that a euphemism for western imperialism, as was the spreading of "civilisation" and Christianity in the 19th century?

      Larry - 2012-09-03 14:51

      Western Democracy trumped communism and it will destroy Islamofacism and any other tyranical governments as well in time. What may seem to you as 'Western Imperialism', Fidel, is a far better option than the mindless 'Islamic Imperialism' whose aim is Islamification or death to the infidel, with all our hard won freedoms (yours as well) down the drain.

  • bjanks - 2012-09-03 01:28

  • Gcodi Mahomed - 2012-09-03 07:59

    unauthorized outposts,illegal settelments,occupied territories are all the same thing,the international community and israels allies deem all of these illegal by international law!!!!

      zaatheist - 2012-09-03 09:08

      Agreed. They are illegal and an affront and were obtained by theft. It is only a matter of time before the wheel turns. Big daddy the US is no longer the only super power and that power is in fast decline. Always better to negotiate when you still have the power to do so. Ask the National Party in South Africa who left it too late and lost everything. One thing about history. I always repeats itself.

      Larry - 2012-09-03 09:19

      The West Bank was won in a war of aggression by Israel's enemies, it was not 'theft'. As a non-nation with none having a sovereign claim, having being abandoned by Jordan who annexed the West Bank between 1948 and 1967; the territory is 'disputed' and none can claim as legally theirs.

      zaatheist - 2012-09-03 09:51

      Larry We no longer live in the 17th century. You are going to have to give the territory back or eventually it will be taken from you - as well as the rest of Israel. Israel is but a blip in history.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-03 11:53

      @Larry In the end, Israelis will pay for these things. You and the Israelis think you can get away with this forever. But that is a delusion. When they eventually realise that, it will be too late. It's called hubris. You should check out "Imperial Hubris" by Michael Scheuer.

      Larry - 2012-09-03 14:56

      Israel makes the rules and will write a new history, as it has confounded the world by its very tenacity. Short of a nuclear holocaust, Israel will remain in place and Palestine will only exist in a decent form when decency is shown towards Israel.

  • angela.m.koch.5 - 2012-09-05 16:46

    I’m deeply saddened by this conversation. None of you seem to know what the true meaning of compromise is. Each party essential has the same goal. But peace in the Middle East will never occur if you cannot come to at least TRY to understand the other parties’ point of view. Your children should be able to live in a safe environment free of inequality, racism, and injustice. You have a common goal, now work towards it together. If you can't seem to swallow your pride and do so, then you are the cause of the problem.

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