Begin: We'll ask for delay in Migron evacuation

Likud minister calls on residents of West Bank outpost to accept deal to relocate their homes 2 kilometers away.

February 27, 2012 13:33
3 minute read.
West Bank outpost [illustrative]

Migron outpost aerial_311. (photo credit: Baz Ratner / Reuters)


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Likud Minister Benny Begin on Monday urged Migron outpost residents to sign a deal with the government to relocate their West Bank homes 2 kilometers away, saying he would ask the High Court of Justice to give the settlers until November 30, 2015 to build their new homes.

Begin made his plea at a Jerusalem press conference in the Prime Minister’s office.

“I hope Migron residents will agree, even in the next few hours, to turn with us to the courts, so we can resolve this in a peaceful manner,” Begin said.

On Sunday night Likud MK Danny Danon and National Union MK Uri Ariel told The Jerusalem Post that talks had broken down over the conditions under which the homes would be relocated.

"Migron residents want to sign a deal with the government,"  Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro’eh told The Jerusalem Post.

But the document Begin presented to the Migron residents, differed from the verbal agreement he had reached with them, said Ro’eh. Migron is located within his council’s jurisdiction.

“Begin has reneged on his promises to Migron residents,” Ro’eh said.

Monday’s dispute between settlers and the government comes just weeks before a High Court of Justice deadline to raze the outpost, which is home to 48 families, by the end of March.

In August the court ruled that the homes, most of which are modular, were constructed without the necessary permits on land classified by the state as belonging to Palestinians.

To avert a forced demolition of the outpost, the state through Begin has looked to find a compromise solution with the settlers.

Settler leader Dani Dayan urged both sides to sign an agreement. “We encourage both the residents of Migron and Begin to reach an agreement as soon as possible and that will prevent the demolition of the homes,” said Dayan who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

At the press conference Begin explained that under the terms of the agreement, the state would ask the court to give the settlers until November 30, 2015 to build new homes, on a portion of the hilltop in which they are now located designated as state land.

He warned that the topography in that part of the hilltop near the Psagot winery, was not easy, and that building preparations and the permitting process would take time.

In the interim, the Migron residents are barred from constructing new buildings in their present location.

After November 30, 2015, the land on which Migron is now located will revert to the control of the Civil Administration, which will raze the homes.

It will then consider using the land for civilian, non-residential purposes, Begin said.

The Likud minister said that all 48 families in Migron must sign a letter stating that they accept the agreement. Only then, said Begin, can the state turn to the court and ask that it rescind its ruling in favor of this agreement.

But Ro’eh said that Migron residents wanted the state to wait for the status of the land to be adjudicated in a local land court, before demolishing the homes.

Migron residents have argued that the status of their land has never properly been adjudicated. They are hoping that a Jerusalem land court will reclassify the property.

Ro’eh said that Migron residents want the state to promise to only demolish the outpost homes if the land court upholds the classification of the land as belonging to private Palestinians.

Should the court determine that the outpost is located on state land, why should the state demolish the structures, asked Ro’eh.

Danon said that he plans to personally appeal to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the Knesset.

“He must immediately and personally interfere,” said Danon.  “Begin gave up. We can-not leave it like this. The demolition of Migron could destabilize the coalition,” he warned.

The Knesset Land for Israel Lobby group called on the government to authorize Migron in its present location.

It added that outpost’s fate should be determined, only once the land court had adjudicated its land status and the newly created outpost committee charged with assessing land status in Judea and Samaria had completed its work.

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