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West Bank: Jewish settlers agree to leave Migron settlement

Jewish settlers have agreed to leave the largest West Bank settlement as part of a deal with the Israeli government.

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An Israeli flag flies in the wind as a Jewish settler walks past the remaining foundations of a demolished house, in the unauthorized West Bank settlement of Migron. Settlers have agreed to leave the oldest and largest settlement in the West Bank, as part of a deal with the Israeli government on March 11, 2012. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Jewish settlers signed an agreement with the Israeli government on Sunday to leave an illegal settlement in the West Bank, according to Reuters.

According to the AFP, the Migron settlement is the largest and oldest settler outpost. The settlers will relocate from the location to a nearby hill where new homes will be constructed for them, said Israeli public radio.

The agreement was negotiated by Benny Begin, a government minister, and will result in the site of the settlement being turned over to the Israeli military. Israel's Supreme Court had ordered the settlement evacuated by the end of March, said the AFP.

The 50 families in the Migron settlement welcomed the deal with the coalition government, according to Reuters, hoping it will avoid incidents like unpleasant evictions that have happened in the past.

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The Jerusalem Post said that the Migron settlement was constructed without permits on private land belonging to Palestinians, according to the court. Yariv Oppenheimer, executive director of Peace Now, called on the court to reject the agreement, which he said would mean the state creating the first new West Bank settlement in over a decade. He warned that instead there would be a new settlement and an outpost on the same hilltop.

A spokeswoman for Peace Now, Hagit Ofran, called the agreement "no less than a disgrace," according to Reuters.

Itai Harrel, the Migron settlement's founder, said, "We agreed to relocate," according to The Jerusalem Post. According to him, the residents still believed that the settlement "did not belong to Palestinians and could be reclassified as state land."

According to the AFP, more than 310,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank, and another 200,000 live in settlement neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, captured and annexed by Israel in 1967. Migron is the largest of more than 100 outposts built without the permission of the Israeli government, according to Reuters.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120311/west-bank-jewish-settlers-leave-migron