Settlers rally at Migron ahead of demolition of 3 homes

During visit to outpost, Danon calls on PM to "agree to a compromise" over prevention of demolitions; thousands visit to show support.

July 22, 2011 01:03
4 minute read.
Migron outpost

sign to migron 248 AJ. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Settlers said they expect a massive show of resistance against any attempts by the state to demolish three permanent structures at the Migron outpost in Samaria.

They spoke with The Jerusalem Post as they gathered Thursday night at the outpost in advance of an anticipated move against the three outpost homes.

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The state has promised the High Court of Justice it would remove the homes by Sunday, July 24. As of late Thursday night, all attempts to broker a compromise to stave off the demolitions had failed.

MK Danny Danon, who is among a number of Likud politicians actively lobbying on behalf of the outpost, said attempts were under way to sway Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to prevent the demolitions.

“I call on the prime minister to personally intervene and to agree to a compromise,” Danon said as he visited Migron.

Likud, he said, was voted into power with a mandate to build Judea and Samaria and not to destroy it.

If the government makes good on its pledge in Migron, it will mark the first time it has destroyed permanent homes in a formal outpost since it demolished nine stone houses on the edge of the Amona outpost in February 2006. The houses were destroyed after hours of fierce clashes.

Residents of Migron who have spent the last month-and-a-half lobbying politicians said they have asked that all resistance be nonviolent.

For the last three days they have held study events for adults at the outpost and story-telling events and games for children. Migron residents said thousands visited to show support.

On Thursday night at a small gathering at a tent that they have sent up in the outpost’s main parking lot the settlers called on all their supporters to camp out from now until Tuesday in hopes of saving the homes.

Separately, they continued to lobby the Prime Minister’s Office and other ministers who could sway the attorney-general to stave off the demolition.

Migron resident Itai Chemo told the Post that on Tuesday the High Court is scheduled to debate the fate of the entire outpost and that it is illogical to demolish the homes in advance of the conclusion of the larger case. He said there was a lot of support in the government for the legalization of Migron.

At the small gathering in the tent, Migron’s rabbi, Itai HaLevi, said he believed the state did not want to demolish the homes and the problem was the legal system.

“The State of Israel doesn’t want to fight against this place. It built this place and we know that it wants us to continue to live here,” he said. Settlers have added that a compromise to stop the demolitions was being held up solely by the attorney-general.

According to the 2005 report by Talia Sasson, the outpost was first established in May 2001 with the help of NIS 4.3 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing. She said, however, that it lacked authorization from the Defense Ministry. Sasson said it was constructed on private Palestinian land. As a result the state has clearly and repeatedly stated its intention to demolish the outpost.

The residents of Migron say their land could easily be reclassified as state-land and only politics has kept their community from receiving legal status in the past. They said no Palestinian has ever lived there.

Peace Now in 2006 petitioned the court to demolish Migron on behalf of the Palestinian owners of the land. Such action was thwarted, however, when in 2008, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip stuck a deal with the government, in which it promised that Migron would be voluntarily removed to the nearby settlement of Geva Binyamin (Adam) within two years.

When bureaucracy delayed the move, and Peace Now saw that Migron residents were building the organization filed a case against the outpost as a whole, asking the state to demolish it given that it had failed to keep Migron residents from building in the interim. Yesh Din also filed a separate case against three homes, asking they be demolished.

Their lawyer Michael Sfard explained it was important for the state to demolish the homes in advance of the Tuesday hearing, as a show of good faith, that it was in fact ensuring compliance with the law.

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