State asks High Court to delay Migron evacuation (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 03/15/12)
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The state on Wednesday asked the High Court of Justice to cancel its
order to evacuate the Migron outpost in the West Bank by the end of
It asked the court for an extension to allow all 50 Migron families
time to build permanent homes on 70 dunams (7 hectares) of state land
2 kilometers away by November 30, 2015.
Right-wing politicians and settler leaders hailed the request as a
worthy compromise that respected the rule of law.
Left-wing activists and politicians said it subverted the rule of law
and broke Israel’s pledge to the international community not to
expand the boundaries of existing settlements.
The proposed new Migron site is under the auspices of the Binyamin
Regional Council but it does not belong to any settlement. Fifty of
its 70 dunams are now zoned for commercial use.
The only structure is a visitor center for the Psagot Winery that
includes a parking lot.
Those 50 dunams plus another 20 will now be rezoned for residential
As part of the relocation plan, the state intends to expand the
boundaries of the nearby Kochav Ya’acov settlement to include the 70
Kochav Ya’acov is located 300 meters away from the commercial area as
the crow flies. The settlement and the new Migron site are separated
by a 1.5-kilometer-long road.
The state noted that experts had said the new site’s topography could
make construction difficult. But it added that this hardship could be
Once the Migron families have moved, the former site of their outpost
will be under the auspices of the Civil Administration of Judea and
The state turned to the court after months of negotiations with the
Migron settlers, led by Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin, to
prevent a forced evacuation of the outpost.
Only on Sunday night did Migron residents sign an addendum letter
stating that they agreed to relocate.
Their fate now lies in the hands of the High Court, which in August
issued a binding order to evacuate the outpost.
It said the outpost, which is mostly composed of modular homes, was
built without the proper permits on private Palestinian property.
The court is expected to hold a hearing on the matter before it
issues a decision.
Peace Now, which filed a petition against Migron, objected to the
state’s request. It said that it made a mockery of the court and
violated Israel’s promises to the international community.
Peace Now’s attorney Michael Sfard said that a state request to
reverse a High Court ruling was unprecedented.
It has “disguised” that request by asking for an extension, Sfard
said. The state is asking the court “to allow threeand- a-half more
years of a land grab,” he said.
Peace Now executive director Yaariv Oppenheimer said the state had
put the justices in an impossible position.
“The outcome of the solution, according to the state, is that the
Supreme Court would allow people to continue to sit on private
Palestinian land,” he said.
Oppenheimer also charged that approval of permanent homes on the new
site was tantamount to the creation of a new settlement.
Israel, he said, promised the international community that it would
not build new West Bank settlements or expand the borders of existing
It was breaking that pledge by placing 70 additional dunams of land
within Kochav Ya’acov’s borders, he said.
“Israel believes that it will be easier for the international
community to digest the expansion of a settlement than the creation
of a new one,” Oppenheimer said. “But that is a fraud. This is a
totally new settlement.”
The Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to the accusation.
An Israeli official said, however, that this was the best compromise
that could be reached under the circumstances.
Dani Dayan, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea,
Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said, “I hope the Supreme Court will
approve the request which honors the rule of law and provides justice
for the residents. I think it is a fair way out of a difficult
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said, “The agreement was signed after a lot of
work and compromise from the pioneers who live in Migron.”
He said that no one wanted to see a repeat of the violent clashes
that occurred in 2006, when the state demolished nine permanent
structures at the Amona outpost.
Danon said he hoped similar relocation agreements could be reached
for other outposts located on private Palestinian property, such as
Givat Assaf and Amona.
“The Likud government was elected not to demolish Jewish homes. I
think we will do everything we can to prevent the demolition of any
Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria,” Danon said.
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said, however, that “Netanyahu’s government
continues to override the High Court of Justice decisions and to cave
in to the blackmail of the radical Migron settlers.”
The Migron agreement is the second one that has been reached to
relocate the outpost.
In 2008, the government and the Council of Jewish Communities of
Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip agreed to move the families to the
nearby Adam settlement within two years.
Migron residents never agreed to relocate and new homes were never
built for them due to bureaucratic delays.
According to a government report compiled by attorney Talia Sasson in
2005, Migron was built in May 2001 with NIS 4.3 million from the
Construction and Housing Ministry. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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