Police raze illegal settlement outpost for second time in a week

Security services evacuate and level Ramat Migron overnight after settler activists rebuilt unauthorized settlement

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

Civil Administration personnel and Border Police raze houses at the Ramat Migron illegal settlement outpost and evacuate the residents in the early hours of Monday morning, August 15, 2022. (Courtesy residents of Ramat Migron)
Civil Administration personnel and Border Police raze houses at the Ramat Migron illegal settlement outpost and evacuate the residents in the early hours of Monday morning, August 15, 2022. (Courtesy residents of Ramat Migron)

Police and Border Police forces descended on the illegal West Bank outpost of Ramat Migron Sunday night to evacuate the site and raze structures erected there over the last four days.

A similar operation was conducted last Thursday, in which all structures at the site were razed, whereupon residents of the unauthorized settlement and other settler activists immediately began to rebuild the outpost.

According to residents of the outpost, security forces and Civil Administration personnel arrived at 4 a.m. and demolished the homes of the three families squatting in the outpost, located northeast of Jerusalem.

The Civil Administration confirmed it had carried out the operation.

The activists accused the police of using excessive force during the evacuation and said their cellphones had been confiscated.

Following the destruction of the outpost, several activists blocked traffic on Route 60 close to the site but were removed by border police.

“We do not intend to leave and give up for a moment on the Zionist project of settling the land,” the activists said in a statement on Monday morning.

Yair Kehati, 26, who moved to Ramat Migron a month ago with his wife, was one of those who were evacuated Monday morning. He denounced the government for destroying the outpost once again, and claimed that illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of the West Bank is not dealt with in a similar manner.

Area C refers to the parts of the West Bank where Israel maintains full civilian and security control. Roughly 330,000 Palestinians and 450,000 Israeli settlers live in the 60 percent of the West Bank that makes up Area C.

Construction permits are very rarely issued for Palestinian housing projects in Area C while permits for several thousand housing units are issued by the government for the West Bank settlements every year.

Kehati said that he and his wife would likely go and stay with their parents for a short while but would return to rebuild the outpost again.

“Of course we will go back. We are already rebuilding. It’s not even a question. Ramat Migron is our home, we have no other,” he said.

Settler activists protest against the destruction of the Ramat Migron illegal settlement outpost at a roundabout on Route 60 in the West Bank on Monday, August 15, 2022. (Courtesy residents of Ramat Migron)

Activists posted video footage on social media the day after last week’s evacuation showing themselves constructing new homes at the site, using prefabricated housing kits designed to be easy to transport and erect.

MK Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the Religious Zionism party, praised those activists on Sunday for rebuilding the illegal outpost, describing them as “heroic pioneers who do not give up.”

The former minister and security cabinet member also called on the public to donate to a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for rebuilding. The campaign has raised over NIS 100,000 ($31,000) so far.

Religious Zionism MK Orit Strock condemned the destruction of the site on Monday morning, and attacked right-wing members of the interim government for being part of a government that destroys illegal outposts (though outposts have been demolished under all governments, including those led by the right wing).

The site of Ramat Migron is located several hundred meters from the former settlement outpost of Migron, which was evacuated following a court order by the High Court of Justice in 2012. At the time, it was the largest illegal outpost in the West Bank with a population of over 300.

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