The Delusion of evacuating Migron Outpost

The Delusion of evacuating Migron Outpost


Migron is an outpost established on a hilltop located 7 Km east of Ramallah city in the West Bank, 2.5Km north-east of the settlement Kochav Ya'akov.


In April 20, 1999, two young settlers set up a container on the deserted hilltop. After a period of negotiations, the two agreed to leave, in exchange for a promise from the Israeli Authorities to take measures of building a new town there. In May 2001 an antenna for Orange cellular company was placed there with a security guard; the guard connected his cabin with water and electricity, and his wife and children move in with him.


In March 3, 2002 five more families joined the guard to create the outpost. Today Migron contains 54 families of settlers with about 60 caravans. Twenty of the founding families are members of the religious school 'Har HaMor Kollel' in Jerusalem. Several public institutions and offices are operative in Migron outpost, including a Leumit Health Fund clinic, a branch of the Binyamin Council Library, three nurseries, a game center, and a synagogue. See Map 1


Map 1: The Migron Outpost

A legal struggle over the land:

In 2006, “Peace Now” movement, together with six Palestinians, petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice, demanding that the Israeli settlers be evicted and the land returned to the deed holders. This was the first time Palestinians have joined a petition demanding the evacuation of an outpost. Five petitioners are from the village of Burqa located northwest of Migron outpost, and one is from the village of Deir-Dibwan to its north. All six have land registry records, wills of inheritance and contracts proving ownership of the land where the outpost was established. Table 1 below shows Palestinian land ownership in Migron area.


Palestinian Village

Stolen Area

Deir Dibwan

80 Dunum


20 Dunum



Total Area / Migron Outpost

100 Dunum

Source: GIS unit, ARIJ 2008


On December 17, 2006 the Israeli Supreme Court responded to the petition, where it admitted that the establishment of the outpost of Migron was a mistake, and no authorization was ever granted for its establishment.  In addition, the court admitted that the outpost stands on a private Palestinian land. Later on On February 12, 2007 the Supreme Court ordered the State of Israel to submit an updated report within 60 days, on the steps that are being taken to remove this outpost.  This report would include the results of the Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz's negotiations with the settlers to evacuate voluntarily and the time frame for the expected evacuation.


On May 1st, 2007 the State debated the Court of the removal of Migron Outpost, that the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has instructed the Defense Ministry to prepare an outpost evacuation plan within 2 months. In the light of these events, the State has requested another 60 days extension from the court. 


On July 8, 2007, the Israeli government has requested another extension claiming that since there is a new Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, more time would be needed by him to decide on this matter.  They also claimed that he intended to hold a series of meetings on how to deal with the illegal outposts in the near future.  Based on this claim, the State granted them an additional 90 days to submit their official response.


On January 23 2008, the Israeli government has informed the Court that: “The Prime Minister and the Defense Minister has decided that the outpost Migron, which was constructed on a private Palestinian land, will be evacuated within six months, that is till the beginning of August 2008”.


Seven months ago, the State Monitoring Committee in the Israeli Knesset held extensive discussions on the outposts' issues. Eitan Brochi, the Minster of Defense Assistant for the issues of Israeli settlements, said that 'there is an understanding between the Ministry of Defense and the Yesha Council to evacuate 26 illegal outposts in the west bank and to transfer the settlers to the neighboring settlements.'  He added that 'the first evacuated outpost will be Migron.' But knowledgeable sources in the Israeli Defense Ministry said that only 3-4 outposts were dismantling since that date, and Migron is not one of them. Moreover, a new report revealed that Benjamin Settlements Regional Council added a new electronic fence at the outpost gate, in disregard to the Israeli government ban imposed on the funds that were being diverted from the regional councils to Israeli outposts.


On August 11, 2008, the Israeli government announced that it will expand the settlement of 'Adam' to absorb dozens of settlers listed for evacuation from the hilltop outpost of Migron.  


On October 6, 2008, Palestinian landowners sued the State of Israel over the loss of their land. The lawsuit calls the 53 Jewish families of settlers who have built home-trailers in Migron, “ideological robbers of the land” and demand 1.5 million shekels from the State of Israel for failing to remove them.

Nowadays, several public institutions and offices are operative in Migron, including “Leumit Health Fund” clinic, a branch of the Binyamin Council Library, three nurseries, a game center, a synagogue, and more.   Moreover the Civil Administration authorized the construction of the bypass road that helped in building the outpost.      


Will the Israeli government evacuate the outpost?  

The former Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon was among those who frequently warned that Migron is a critically strategic point, and that if Israel does not take it, the Arabs would.

The statements of the Central Commander, Yitzchak Eitan came to contradict Mr. Ya'alon's, in that he insisted that this site should remain Jewish. He even told the Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer that 'if Jewish civilians were not permitted to remain, he would build an army outpost there.' 'This point must not be abandoned,' he said.  In addition the former Ministry of Defense Benjamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor Party) promised the settlers that the land registration procedures will be completed, as he will prepare a master plan for the outpost and introduce it to the Israeli Ministry of Housing.  In addition, he intended to merge Migron outpost with the near mother settlement Kochav Yaakov.


Talia Sasson's report revealed that the expenses for building Migron came from the Ministry of Construction & Housing (4 Million NIS).  These facts indicate that Israel has no intention to evacuate the settlers out of Migron.  Some sources, close to the Israeli government, said that Kadima party and the Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni do not want any conflicts between them and the right-wing party “Shas”, and prefer to circumvent the mines, such as the outposts and the negotiations on Jerusalem.  The informed sources added that the United States elections are approaching and a new US President would have more pressing problems than the Israeli outposts in the West Bank.


To conclude:

If Israel carries on with its plans concerning the Migron outpost, it would expand even more in the future by robbing more of the surrounding Palestinian land and thus turning Migron into a large settlement.





Prepared by 
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem




Categories: Israeli Plans