Israel's Supreme Court orders state to dismantle largest West Bank outpost

12:00 Aug 2 2011 Ramat Migron settlement outpost

Unprecedented ruling states that Migron must be razed by April 2012; Israeli government had admitted outpost was built on lands belonging to Palestinians, but has thus far failed to dismantle it.

By Chaim Levinson for Haaretz

Israel's Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an unprecedented ruling ordering the state to dismantle the largest illegal settlement outpost in the West Bank by April 2012.

The decision follows a petition filed by Peace Now movement.

Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch harshly criticized the Israeli government for failing to dismantle the outpost of Migron, which is home to some 50 families, despite earlier promises it would do so and after it had admitted that it was in fact built on lands belonging to Palestinians.

Beinisch said the Supreme Court has tried to show restraint despite the blatant illegality of the outpost.

"There is no doubt, that according to Israeli law, no settlements can be built on private lands of Palestinians," Beinisch said.

In the court ruling, the Supreme Court justices said that they recognize the difficulties surrounding the dismantling of such an outpost, which has already expanded to 50 families, but said this could have been avoided if the state had initially worked to better enforce the law and prevented the construction of Migron in the first place.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has ordered the state to dismantle an outpost in the West Bank, and the move brings the subject back onto the court's agenda. The decision to dismantle an outpost as large as Migron is likely to cause a political storm in the West Bank settlements.
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