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False pretenses (illustration)
False pretenses (illustration) 
 
 

State sued over failure to evacuate illegal outpost

Yesh Din human rights group takes on case of Palestinians claiming to be rightful owners of land on which West Bank outpost of Migron was built; says Israel failed to uphold law by essentially allowing settlers' actions

Aviad Glickman
Published: 10.06.08, 08:20 / Israel News

Human rights group Yesh Din has filed a NIS 1.5 million (approx. $430,000) lawsuit with the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on behalf of several Palestinian land owners, who claim their property was confiscated for the sake of erecting the illegal West Bank outpost of Migron, located near the West Bank settlement of Ofra.

 

Monday's brief said that the State has prevented the land owners from having any access to their land for several years. Yesh Din further claims that by not preventing the settlers from building of the outpost, or evacuating its residents, the State was in fact, aiding the settlers.

 

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Attorney Michael Sefarad, on behalf of the plaintiffs, claimed that in 1999, "Israeli offenders" invaded the land under the false pretence of putting up a cellular antenna.

 

In the nine years since, said Sefarad, the settlers have built a full-fledged outpost, which includes dozens of buildings, with law enforcement officials doing nothing to even try and stop them.

 

The suit, stressed the brief, makes no claim against the settlers themselves, but against the State, which has neglected its moral and judicial obligations by failing to protect the plaintiffs' property, essentially allowing the settlers to build on their land.

 

Nowadays, Migron houses some 60 provisional buildings and two permanent ones, which are used by 43 families. The existence of the outpost, said the suit, prevents the rightful land owners and their families from gaining access to the area, which is surrounded by a fence.

 

Sefarad further claims that political considerations have tainted the professional considerations which should have led the police to enforce the letter of the law and evacuate the squatters, suggesting that the police caved in to political pressure.

 

Sefarad also cites an earlier court ruling in which the State acknowledges that Migron is, in fact, an illegal outpost and that demolition orders have been issued for all of its buildings, thus admitting to its illegal status.

 

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