Rivlin: Knesset will legalize Migron if gov't doesn't

Habayit Hayehudi threatens to leave coalition over outpost demolitions; deputy A-G: Gov't “consolidating responses.”

January 12, 2012 16:28
2 minute read.
West Bank outpost [illustrative]

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


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If the government does not legalize Migron, then the legislature will, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said during a visit to the outpost on Thursday.

He spoke a day after Habayit Hayehudi threatened to leave the coalition because the government has yet to make a final decision on the issue.

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Rivlin called on the government to take responsibility for the current situation, in which the High Court of Justice ordered homes demolished by the end of March, because they were built on private Palestinian land.

The government must legalize the homes in question, and could reimburse the Palestinians in question if they proved ownership, he said.

“The [Migron] residents here are not thieves and are not trying to banish people from their land. They came here innocently, with the encouragement of the State of Israel,” Rivlin said.

In addition, he said there was no reason to demolish the houses and rebuild them in another part of Migron. According to the Knesset speaker, that would mean the state was admitting it did an injustice and allowed land to be stolen, which it did not do.

Rivlin does not oppose the court’s decision. Rather, he said, the government should find a legal way to change the land’s status, either through legislation or a government decision.

Numerous bills that would legalize outposts and save outpost homes have been proposed in recent months.

These bills have all been rejected by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, so that the government can negotiate with homeowners and find a solution other than new laws.

However, these negotiations are not sufficient for Habayit Hayehudi.

The party threatened to leave the coalition on Wednesday after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that he was freezing the scheduled Ministerial Committee vote on a bill to legalize certain outposts sponsored by MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Ya’acov Katz (National Union).

If Migron is demolished, Habayit Hayehudi plans to immediately leave the coalition, Ze’ev Kam of Makor Rishon reported on Wednesday night.

Orlev and Katz’s bill was voted down by the Ministerial Committee on Legislation in December, but Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) appealed the rejection. Netanyahu told Edelstein that he would not allow the ministers to vote on the bill again on Sunday, as planned, so that negotiations could continue between the settlers and Ministerwithout- Portfolio Bennie Begin.

According to Makor Rishon, Migron residents said they would negotiate with Begin even if the legislation passed.

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