Mohammed Mar’i
Arab News
October 6, 2008 - 8:00pm§ion=0&article=115174&d=7&m=10&y=2008

For the first time in the history of illegal takeovers of privately owned Palestinian land, the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din on behalf of five Palestinian landowners demanded compensation from Israel for assistance it provided to builders of the illegal settlement outpost Migron in the West Bank as well as its failure to evacuate it.

Yesh Din’s attorney Michael Sfard has filed a 1.5 million Israeli shekel ($427,000) lawsuit with the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on behalf of five Palestinians from the West Bank villages of Burqa and Dair Dibwan, who claim their land was confiscated for the sake of erecting Migron, northeast of Ramallah.

The sum demanded as compensation is based on calculations of loss of potential income from the lands during the years when the outpost occupied it, and since Israel’s violation of its obligation as an occupying power to protect Palestinian civilians and their property began. As well, the claim states that the landowners are entitled to compensation from Israel due to the cooperation of various state authorities in the establishment of the outpost.

In the introduction to the lawsuit, Sfard wrote that it was not “aimed at the ideological thieves and land-robbers (Jewish occupiers), but at the state, which is betraying its legal and moral obligations and refraining from protecting the plaintiffs and their property and, instead, is helping the thieves by its actions and lack of action.” Sfard charged that this was a case of the “cops and robbers joining forces, a situation characteristic of countries that are controlled by organized crime or the Mafia.”

“For ideological reasons, the demand for compensation was made only on the basis of land-grabbing and not land-use,” says the suit. “The plaintiffs are not interested in earning a single shekel from the thieves residing on the land.”

Migron was established in 1999 on the pretext of building an antenna near the settlement of Ofra. In 2001, during the second Palestinian intifada, the founders of the outpost brought in mobile homes. In 2003, they started building permanent structures.

Today, there are about 60 mobile homes and two permanent structures, according to Sfard. Forty-three families live there. The outpost, said the suit, prevents the rightful landowners and their families from gaining access to the area.


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