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Israel evacuates 300 residents from illegal settlement outpost

The court-ordered evacuation ended years of legal wrangling over Migron, an outpost 10 miles north of Jerusalem. 

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Jewish settlers pray in a Synagogue in the unauthorized West Bank Jewish settlement of Migron. On Sunday Israel completed evacuation of Migron, culminating years of legal wrangling in a case that has become a rallying cry for hardline settler groups opposed to any withdrawal from occupied land claimed by the Palestinians.

Sebastian Scheiner/AP

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Israel completed evacuation of a large unauthorized West Bank settlement outpost on Sunday, culminating years of legal wrangling in a case that has become a rallying cry for hardline settler groups opposed to any withdrawal from occupied land claimed by the Palestinians.

By midday, all of Migron's roughly 300 residents had left, authorities said, two days ahead of a court-ordered deadline to clear out.

The fate of Jewish settlements lies at the heart of a three-year impasse in Mideast peace efforts. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate while Israel continues to expand settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war and claimed by the Palestinians for a future state. They say the settlement construction is a show of bad faith.

Most of Migron's residents left voluntarily and peacefully, but officers dragged out a few youths who had holed themselves up in an evacuated trailer home. At another white prefab home, where a toy tractor and a bicycle with training wheels were left discarded outside, several youths climbed to the roof waving a large Israeli flag and refused to come down.

Moving just a few miles away

Authorities began loading residents' belongings onto large trucks, to be moved to temporary dwellings in an area settlement before Migron residents move into new homes elsewhere in the West Bank just a few miles away as part of a compromise with the residents.

Altogether, police arrested eight youths, all of them non-residents who came to Migron to protest the eviction. There were no reports of injuries.

Some 500,000 Israelis now live on occupied lands, nearly all of them in east Jerusalem or full-fledged settlements in the West Bank.

But several thousand live in the dozens of unauthorized outposts that dot the West Bank. Israel has repeatedly promised to remove unauthorized outposts, but in reality taken very little action. In many cases, officials have even been complicit, hooking up outposts to the power grid and providing access roads for the residents.

Migron among largest outposts

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