Supreme Court Nixes Deal Over Illegal Outpost
Migron to disappear by August 1, barring further gov’t action, noncompliance
Yet again, defenders of Israel’s democratic character may point to its judicial system, and especially the Supreme Court, as a bulwark for the rule of law. Last summer, the Supreme Court, hearing a petition brought with the help of the left-wing group Peace Now, ruled that Migron—a settlement, or “outpost,” near Ramallah in the West Bank that is considered illegal even under Israeli law and was built in 1999 without government permission on land that seems to be owned by certain Palestinians—had to be taken down and its residents relocated by the end of this month. The Israeli government—which is pro-settlements, though arguably has legitimate interests in minimizing discord—recently offered an apparently extralegal compromise to Migron’s 50 families: It would build legal (or “legal,” if you’re much of the international community) housing for them nearby and they would be forced to move in 2015. Deal, the settlers said.
No deal, the Supreme Court replied yesterday. Granting a four-month extension due to the hubbub, the court ordered the settlers moved by Aug. 1. “This 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,” its opinion read.
During last week’s arguments, one of the three judges who joined the unanimous ruling was more blunt: “You say the outpost will move in three years, but I know this type of behavior. Three years will inevitably turn into eight.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu has said the government will abide by the ruling. There does appear, however, a chance for the Knesset to step in. As it is, however, the government currently plans to move the settlers to mobile homes in a nearby settlement within 60 days and go from there.
I think sympathy for the settlers is perfectly acceptable, even if they are, as seems likely, true believers. Having one’s life uprooted is no easy thing. The mistake was the government’s for allowing the settlement to be built; rebuilt in 2001; and not torn down, as it was supposed to be, in 2003 (plans for Gaza disengagement put the kibosh on that), or during subsequent years. But sympathy can’t get in the way of justice, and justice demands that Migron disappear. We should be grateful the Israeli Supreme Court sees it that way and hope that everybody else complies.
Israel’s Top Court Orders Settlers to Leave Outpost [NYT]
A History of the West Bank Outpost of Migron [Haaretz]
Netanyahu: Government Will Abide by High Court Ruling on Migron [Arutz Sheva]
Top Official Says Knesset Could Call Emergency Meet Over High Court’s Ruling on Migron [Haaretz]
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.