Migron Demolition 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The government must take responsibility for children whose homes were demolished
in the Migron outpost in September, Knesset Public Petitions Committee chairman
David Azoulay (Shas) said on Monday.
According to Migron residents,
children living in the three homes that were demolished are displaying symptoms
of post-traumatic stress, such as wetting the bed, stopping breast-feeding
prematurely, and refusing to go to school, because they lost their sense of
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“The state threw my children out of our house and destroyed it
in front of us,” Migron resident Tami Gutman told the committee, sobbing. “The
next day, my children didn’t have anywhere to go. They didn’t have books or bags
According to Gutman, IDF officers visited her home weeks
before the demolition, and said she and her husband would be warned in advance
and allowed to pack their belongings. However, she was never warned, nor was she
presented with a demolition order when her home was razed, she said.
High Court of Justice ruled this summer that the Migron outpost should be
destroyed by the end of the March because it was built without the proper
government permits on private Palestinian property. Settlers note that it was
constructed with funding from the Ministry of Construction and Housing and that
the status of their land has never been properly adjudicated.
houses demolished in September have a separate status from the rest of the
outpost, because they were built after the government asked Migron residents to
move their homes to the nearby Adam settlement, in 2008. Migron residents had
argued that the fate of the three homes should not be separated from that of the
Gutman also told the committee that her home was movable, and
could have been transferred elsewhere, rather than demolished, if the land was
“All of our furniture, our kitchen, minimal things every house
needs were destroyed for no reason,” Migron resident Avital Gefen told the
Although she brought her children to neighbors’ homes that
night, Gefen said that since the demolition, her baby, who was two weeks old at
the time, no longer breast-feeds, and her six-year-old refused to return to
school for weeks.
“No one took responsibility; no one came to talk to us.
Where are the social workers, the psychologists?” Gefen asked.
Regional Council Secretary- General Moshie Asher said he sent psychologists and
social workers to work with individuals and the Migron community as a whole. He
said he did not receive extra funds from the government for the psychological
aid or for rebuilding infrastructure that was damaged during the
Later in the meeting, Gal Cohen, an attorney in the Defense
Ministry, said that due to its illegal status, Migron was not officially a part
of Binyamin or any other regional council, which is why no extra funding was
Azoulay said he would contact the Prime Minister’s Office, the
Education Ministry and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry and ask that
they help with Migron children’s “mental welfare.”
“Something is missing
here,” he told Asher and Migron residents. “At the end of the day, someone has
to help you and you shouldn’t have to take an initiative on your
Another topic discussed by the committee was possible monetary
compensation for property that was destroyed.
from the Justice and Finance ministries said that such a move would be
impossible without a cabinet decision or new legislation.
Keren Dahari of
the Justice Ministry said that the government had tried in the past, and was
still trying, to come to an agreement with residents of illegal outposts. The
problem was “there are no takers,” she said.
She added that government
compensation for homes built on private Palestinian land would set a complicated
The committee chairman said he would tell the Prime Minister’s
Office and the Finance Ministry that the families whose homes were demolished
should receive compensation, because the state could not “harm them and then act
like nothing happened.”
Only National Union lawmakers spoke during the
meeting, although others, such as MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) and MK Yulia
Shamolov Berkovich (Kadima), were in attendance.
MK Ya’acov Katz
(National Union) took offense that “minority groups,” a politically correct term
for Arabs, were hired to pack and move the contents of the homes being
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) asked for explanations as to
why the homes were demolished late at night, and said anyone who harmed the
welfare of children “should face criminal consequences.”
“I never saw
someone destroy an illegal Arab village at night – or at all,” Eldad said. “Even
if an Arab home was ordered to be demolished, their property wasn’t destroyed.”