Israeli court rejects plan to relocate Migron settlers in 2015
Israel's High Court of Justice on Sunday rejected a request by the government to postpone until 2015 the dismantling of an unauthorized settler outpost in the occupied West Bank, dpa reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had struck a deal with settler leaders to keep the hilltop outpost of Migron in place for more than three years to give the government enough time to build a new neighbourhood for them in a nearby settlement.
The court said the state's request to postpone the dismantling of Migron until November 2015 was "utterly unreasonable." It ordered the state to uproot the outpost, set up without government permission, by early August.
Netanyahu pledged his government would implement the court's decision, which could lead to resistance by militant settlers who believe they have a biblical right to the West Bank.
"The government of Israel, just like all citizens of Israel, respect the decisions of the supreme court," Netanyahu told reporters in a message.
With 280 settlers, Migron is the largest unauthorized Jewish settlement in the West Bank.
The Peace Now organization, which monitors settlement construction in the West Bank, praised the court's decision.
"We expect (the settlers of Migron) to keep their word and to evacuate peacefully," Peace Now head Yariv Oppenheimer told Channel 2 television.
Under the deal with the government, Migron settlers would relocate to a new neighbourhood of Psagot, a settlement east of the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements built in the West Bank are illegal.