It has been ten years since a group of Israelis decided to build a settlement on privately owned Palestinian land. Migron is north of Jerusalem, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, and is often characterized as a small, unimportant group of buildings, but it is home to 250 Israelis who have put up an epic fight to stay where they have no right to be – other than their belief that Israelis have a right to live wherever they want in the West Bank. A year ago, the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice ordered them to evacuate the settlement. Today, the Supreme Court ordered the evacuation again, this time with an absolute date: September 4.
The settlers of Migron have pulled out every imaginable legal and extra-legal action to stay where they are and now some are under investigation for allegedly forging deeds “selling” the property to them. They have spent the better part of ten years issuing demands and requirements for their evacuation, and the Israeli government has gone along with far too many of them.
Maybe it’s the fact that this ruling came down the day after an Israeli court in Haifa threw out the claims of the family of activist Rachel Corrie that made the situation in Migron more irritating. Corrie died under the treads of a bulldozer that was unceremoniously “clearing” a Palestinian home in 2003, and the Israeli government has denied any wrongful act in her death. It is common practice for the Israelis to bulldoze any Palestinian building, home or shop, that they deem to be illegal or not up to code or a half-inch off the permit limits, but they have spent ten years putzing around with an Israeli trailer park on Palestinian land.
The final agreement with the Migron squatters will cost the Israeli people millions of dollars at a time when their economy is not in the best condition. Austerity measures and new taxes have been imposed by the Netanyahu government. But, there’s enough money to build a whole new pre-fab, real houses settlement for the Migron settlers, with minimally-paid Palestinian labor as all the settlements have been, on land that has been seized from the Palestinians who lacked formal papers to “prove” they owned the land.
On August 2, 2011, the same court ruled that “The establishment of the outpost and its ongoing expansion are in clear and blatant defiance of the rule of law and infringe on the proprietary rights of the Palestinian landowners.” Well said, and totally ignored by the Migronites.
Now, they will be relocated to Yekev Hill, less than two miles away.
The last appeal by the residents of Migron involved a claim that some of their dwellings were on legally purchased land, but the State of Israel responded to that claim on August 20, saying that even if they did purchase the land (the “transaction” is being investigated for possible forgery), the buildings on the land are not legal. They appear to be trailers. So, the state said that the buildings on the piece of land under investigation could remain, but the residents could not. That’s clear as glass.
After ten years, countless judicial proceedings and a completely muddled response from the government, the 250 residents of Migron will hopefully leave their trailer park on the next week, travel 1.86 miles up the road and resettle in their brand new, unmortgaged, no-payment-required homes, compliments of the nation of Israel and its taxpayers. Instead of facing any kind of judgement for their illegal actions, they will all be rewarded.