On Tuesday, a fateful hearing took place at the Supreme Court to determine the
destiny of the Jewish community of Migron.
The complicated history of the
site, and the legal wrangling surrounding it over the past six years, have left
many people wondering where right begins and wrong ends.
of one’s political views, there is something about the case that should send a
shudder down the spine of every Israeli who values liberty.
before the justices, Osnat Mandel of the State Attorney’s Office said that
Migron in its entirety should be evacuated within a few days.
no distinction between the land that was recently purchased by Migron’s
residents, on which 17 families live, and the rest of the community’s territory,
where 33 other families reside and the ownership is in dispute.
words, the state is willfully choosing to ignore the legal purchase of land by
its citizens and is prepared to expel them from their homes.
say, this is nothing less than an outrage.
The state is trampling upon
one of the fundamental underpinnings of any Western-style democracy: private
The land in question was purchased in a legal
transaction from its Palestinian owners at a reported cost of $1 million.
Migron’s residents presented documents to support their claim and even
videotaped the acquisition as proof that it had been carried out. This
development undermines the basis for the expulsion order against the 17 families
in question, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped Mandel from insisting that
they be removed anyway.
What is particularly frightening about this
stance is that if the government is allowed to brazenly ignore the private
ownership of land in Migron, what is to stop it from doing the same in other
INDEED, WHAT happens today in Migron could very well happen tomorrow in
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Beersheba.
Simply put: this is an act of tyranny,
one of unconstrained governmental power that threatens us all.
rare cases involving eminent domain or an imminent threat to national security,
there is no justification for such a rash and high-handed exercise of
A deal is a deal, and if the Migron residents
bought the land from its Palestinian owners, they cannot and must not be forced
from their homes.
Opponents of Migron assert that the land purchase in
question is fictitious and that the families should leave. If that is the case,
then let the police investigate the transaction in the coming weeks, and the
matter can be revisited one way or the other.
But there is no reason at
this stage to put 17 families along with their children through the trauma of
eviction, particularly when it appears that they are fully within their right to
Remember: Migron was established with the active encouragement
and funding of the government of Israel. Many of the structures on the site were
paid for by the Ministry of Housing and Construction, and Migron’s residents had
every reason to believe that their presence throughout the years was above-board
Whatever becomes of the rest of Migron, the parcels of
land that were purchased from the Palestinians deserve separate treatment – both
morally and legally.
How ironic, then, that the opponents of Migron
righteously invoke the “rule of law” even as they seek to walk all over
Though the mainstream media loves to portray Migron as an “illegal
outpost,” the real transgression here is the double-standard that is applied to
Jewish and Arab building across Israel.
Just drive down to Eilat and you
will see dozens of unauthorized and illegal homes that were erected by Beduin
along the road.
Or glance up at the hills of Judea and Samaria, where
thousands of unlawful structures have been built by Palestinians.
a stroll through eastern Jerusalem, where Arabs build illegally with virtual
impunity thanks to the apathy of the authorities. And yet, when it comes to
cases involving Jewish construction, the government is all too ready to swoop in
Why the inconsistency? Doesn’t the rule of law apply equally
to Jews and to Arabs? Apparently not.
This situation is simply
intolerable and the time has come for it to change. Jews, like anyone else, have
the right to purchase land and build on it, even if it upsets the extremists of
Peace Now. Property rights must be upheld, and the Jews of Judea and Samaria are
no less deserving in this regard. So don’t be fooled by the pompous
pronouncements of our politicians or the mischievous misrepresentations in the
The real threat to the Jewish state does not come from a small
band of pioneers in Migron bravely trying to reclaim our ancestral
It comes, instead, from a government that is willing to subvert
our property rights and freedom.
The road to tyranny begins in Migron.
Our responsibility is to ensure that is where it ends.