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Preparations for Migron evacuation proceed on schedule (ISRAEL HAYOM) Yori Yalon and Shlomo Cesana 06/18/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=4726 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
World Zionist Organization employees bring residential buildings from Migron on semitrailers to Givat Hayekev • The High Court of Justice struck down an agreement and ruled that Migron must be evacuated by August.

The settlement division of the World Zionist Organization on Sunday transferred five residential buildings from Migron, on 14 semitrailers, to the Givat Hayekev site in Kochav Yaakov, as part of preparations for the evacuation of the illegal outpost by the end of July. Work on infrastructure at the site, in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria, also continued.

In March, the High Court of Justice struck down an agreement between residents and the government that would have kept Migron, the largest illegal outpost in Judea and Samaria, in place for at least three more years. The court ruled that Migron residents must evacuate the site by August.

In April, Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin (Likud) accused right-wing political figures of sabotaging efforts to reach a compromise with residents of Migron that would have them relocated to state-owned land near their current place of residence.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had appointed Begin to mediate a deal between the state and the residents that would then need to be approved by the High Court of Justice.

On April 30, the government approved a proposal to establish the new temporary housing site in Givat Hayekev for the Migron residents.

Itay Hemo, a community spokesperson for Kochav Yaakov, said in response to the government´s decision, "The solution decided upon is not a solution. This is not an aesthetic evacuation. No one has asked for our consent."

Two residential buildings brought by the WZO to Givat Hayekev on Sunday, which are 120 sq. meters (1,292 sq. ft.) each, were attached to a public building of 240 sq. meters (2,583 sq. ft.). Three other buildings, 72 sq. meters (775 sq. ft.) each, were brought to the site as well.

By the end of the week, 23 structures are expected to be moved to Givat Hayekev. Eighteen of them are residential buildings, while the rest are public structures. By August, 54 structures will be set up for the Migron evacuees.

The temporary structures will house around 50 families until a permanent residence is established in the same area.

Commenting on the construction work in Givat Hayekev, WZO settlement division head Danny Kritchman said, "Only a month ago, this place was nothing but a stony hill. Site and infrastructure preparations are underway in coordination with the Binyamin Regional Council and the Binyamin Region Economic Development Company."

According to Kritchman, land at the site has already been prepared by the WZO settlement division and all the necessary paperwork is being completed as well.

The site includes an area of 100 dunams (24.7 acres) of which 42 dunams (10.4 acres) are slated for the temporary resettlement. The budget set aside for the construction work now stands at 25 million shekels ($6.5 million).

Meanwhile, an official statement issued Sunday said the cabinet has approved the establishment of a Ministerial Committee on Settlement Affairs. The committee, to be headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will have the authority to formulate government policy on unauthorized construction on state-owned land and privately owned land in Judea and Samaria. These powers would extend to legally contested property.

Committee decisions will have the same legal status as government resolutions and ministers will not be able to challenge them.

The committee may be a boon for the pro-settlement wing in the government as the new committee in effect strips Defense Minister Ehud Barak of his almost exclusive authority on settlement construction or the issuance of housing permits in Judea and Samaria. Netanyahu selected Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu), Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (New National Religious Party), Vice Prime Minister and Minister Without Portfolio Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe (Bogey) Ya´alon (Likud), Benny Begin, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud), Education Minister Gideon Sa´ar (Likud) and Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) to sit on the committee.

In the vote to approve the committee on Sunday, Mofaz, Barak, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon (Independence) and Minister of Improvement of Government Services Michael Eitan (Likud) opposed the move. Vice Prime Minister and Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau, Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov abstained.

Mofaz explained his opposition to the committee saying the decision would "legitimize all the problematic aspects of the settlements." The vice prime minister said taking the subject of settlements out of the hands of the Defense Ministry was questionable. "Sensibility, what´s right for the country and political logic dictate sticking to the simple rules accepted by a majority of Israelis, which include strengthening the larger settlement blocks, strict adherence to the law and absolute abstention from anything close to violation of the law or the appropriation of private land," Mofaz said.

Sa´ar congratulated the government on its decision to establish the committee. "This government, headed by Netanyahu, made a significant policy change in relation to settlements. Previous governments unreasonably restricted the development of settlements. This is a huge enterprise that includes some 360,000 Jews. Solutions needed for the settlements today are different from those that were needed in the past."

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