BEIRUT

Middle East

Israel forces demolish dwellings in illegal settlement

JERUSALEM: Israeli security forces evacuated and demolished two dwellings in the wildcat settlement of Ramat Migron during the night, a police spokeswoman said Friday.

This comes ahead of the planned evacuation of nearby Migron, the largest wildcat settlement in the occupied West Bank.

The army and police evacuated and destroyed "two illegal wooden structures in the Ramat Migron settlement," said police spokeswoman Luba Samri. She added that one of the inhabitants was arrested for attacking police officers.

Samri said "hilltop youth" occupied the dwellings, a term used for the young settlers many of whom come from remote outposts in the mountainous northern West Bank.

Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal and often sends security personnel to demolish them. They usually consist of little more than a few trailers.

Israel's Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the September 4 evacuation of Migron, whose dwellings will then be "moved" before September 11, already postponed from August 21.

The court rejected an appeal by 17 families who argued that they had legally bought from Palestinians part of the land on which the settlement stands.

The anti-settler movement Peace Now welcomed the supreme court decision, calling it a "victory for the state of law."

But Migron settlers angrily condemned the ruling. "This is a black day for the state of Israel," they said in a statement accusing the government of having "done nothing to stop this brutal rape."

Migron, the largest and oldest settlement outpost in the West Bank, was ordered razed by the end of March, since it was built on private Palestinian land.

The international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank -- including east Jerusalem -- to be illegal.

More than 340,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank, and another 200,000 live in east Jerusalem that was occupied by Israel in 1967 and annexed.

 
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