State to ask for delay in removing Migron buildings (JERUSALEM POST) By TOVAH LAZAROFF 08/15/12)
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The state is likely to ask the High Court of Justice for a 90- day
delay in the removal of some buildings in the Migron outpost in order
to allow time for adjudication of the settlers’ purchase claim.
But the state is likely to insist that all of the 50 families who
live in the small hilltop community located in the Binyamin region of
the West Bank must voluntarily evacuate their homes by the court-
mandated date of August 28.
The Ministerial Settlements Committee formulated both positions for
the state, when it met to prepare the state’s response to the High
Court of Justice on the matter, which is due on August 19.
The High Court of Justice has ordered the removal of the homes
because they were built without permits on land classified by the
state as belonging to private Palestinians.
Migron residents initially claimed that they had purchased some of
the lots and that other portions of the outpost could be reclassified
as abandoned property. The court did not uphold those claims.
In July, Migron residents petitioned the court against the
evacuation, claiming that they had repurchased a portion of the
outpost on which the homes are located.
Initially, the state told the court that there was no reason to
remove those homes if the court upheld the purchase claim.
But the Ministerial Settlements Committee amended that response on
Tuesday, after Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein found their initial
stance to be legally problematic.
According to a source in the meeting, the purchase claim involves
three tracts of land, which the committee has referred as sections 2,
Section 2, is completely surrounded by Palestinian property and can
only be accessed through that property. In section 23, settlers were
only able to purchase 25 percent of the property.
The committee therefore decided not to make a plea with the court for
either tract of land. With respect to the third tract, section 10,
however, it agreed to ask the court for a 90-day delay.
Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said after the meeting, “I
am glad the committee is working, but as far as Migron is concerned I
think the committee should have stuck to its previous decision” to
support all three tracts of land, he said.
According to the source, however, in the meeting the ministers were
upset by reports that Migron residents might not agree to voluntarily
evacuate the homes, in spite of a signed agreement in which they
pledged to do so.
According to the initial agreement, signed in March, residents would
be given close to three years to relocate.
The High Court of Justice, however, insisted that the residents must
evacuate in August. The state plans to relocate them to a new site of
modular homes two kilometers away on a state-owned hilltop situated
next to the Psagot winery.
After the court insisted on an August evacuation deadline, Migron
residents have refused to publicly state their intention to evacuate.
Instead, they have continued a political and legal battle to stay in
their homes. In recent weeks, they have solicited funds to buy
further tracts of land.
Migron spokesman Itai Chemo said in response to the decision by the
Ministerial Settlements Committee that it was clear that the land had
been purchased. He added that the actions of the prosecutor’s office
in pushing to destroy the outpost stemmed not from the pursuit of
justice, but from a “lust for destruction.”
Separately, the committee debated the matter of two market stalls,
which two Jewish families have now incorporated into their apartments.
A Hebron Jewish family had once owned the property but was forced to
evacuate it in 1947.
The state is due to submit a position to the court on the matter.
Hebron Jewish community spokeswoman Orit Struck called on the
Ministerial Settlements Committee to uphold the conclusion of a
military appeals court that the property could be rented to the
Jewish families. Edelstein said that the committee had agreed to
present that position to the court.
The public diplomacy and Diaspora affairs minister added that the
commmittee also supported measures to legalize the tract of land in
Beit El on which five apartment buildings are under construction.
Construction was frozen after the state determined that the site
lacked permits and was built on land classified by the state as
belonging to private Palestinians.
Edelstein said that legalization was possible because the land in
question is within the boundaries of the military seizure order that
created the settlement. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 08/15/12)
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