CMEP Bulletin: Settlements Take Center Stage

CMEP Bulletin: Settlements Take Center Stage

Weekly diplomatic update from CMEP

Israeli Court Rejects Migron Deal

The struggle continues between the Israeli Supreme Court and the 50 families living in Migron, the Israeli outpost near Ramallah built on private Palestinian land — illegally under Israeli law but with Israeli government assistance.

After weeks of speculation, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected the compromise made between the government of Israel and the settlers living in Migron, the largest outpost in the West Bank.

Last August the court ordered the government to evacuate the outpost by March 31, 2012. After weeks of wrangling, the government and the families of Migron agreed that by 2015 the government would build a new settlement for them nearby on what is considered Israeli state land; meanwhile the settlers could remain in Migron until their new homes were ready.

On March 25, the court ruled the deal did not comply with their previous decision and ordered the government to dismantle the outpost by August 1, 2012. The written decision said abiding by court rulings “is a necessary component of the rule of law to which all are subject as part of Israel’s values as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Israeli NGO Peace Now reacted to the ruling on their website saying the ruling “sent a clear statement to Migron settlers and the Israeli government – all groups and people are equal in the eyes of the law, and that a Supreme Court verdict must be honored. Now, the citizens of Israel await and hope that the Migron settlers will keep their promise and comply with the supreme courts’ verdict by peacefully evacuating from the illegal outpost.”

Hours after the ruling, Ha’aretz reported the government offered to move the 50 Migron families to a temporary mobile home site nearby until a more permanent solution could be found. Migron founder and spokesman Itai Harel said the residents would not accept such a deal, saying “The government reached compromises with us and we demand that the prime minister uphold the agreement and the understandings and do everything that was discussed.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would honor the ruling, saying, “The government of Israel, along with its citizens, respects the court and acts according to the nation’s laws.”

Right-wing members of the Knesset were not willing to concede defeat. Danny Danon and Uri Ariel called on their fellow lawmakers to pass legislation to nullify the court decision by legalizing all of the outposts, including Migron. Sources in the Knesset told Ha’aretz the bill’s passage is “unlikely.”

Click here to continue reading this CMEP Bulletin, including the following items:

  • Distinuishing demolition orders
  • Political status of Jerusalem
  • Israel objects to UNHRC investigation of settlements
  • New maps may shed light on West Bank strategy