Rivlin to gov't: Sign deal to move Migron 2 km.

Knesset speaker backs agreement to prevent the demolition of their West Bank outpost next month.

February 22, 2012 02:18
3 minute read.
Migron residents walk by site of demolished home

Migron residents walk by site of demolished home_311. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)


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Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) on Tuesday called on the government to sign an agreement with Migron settlers that would prevent the demolition of their West Bank outpost next month.

“This agreement is not a mirage... The government should sign it,” Rivlin told Likud activists and Migron residents who held a joint meeting at the Psagot winery.

An unofficial agreement was reached earlier this month to relocate the outpost some 2 kilometers away from its present location, to an area of the same hilltop located next to winery.

But Migron residents have yet to receive a formal agreement to that effect from the government.

The High Court of Justice has ordered the state to demolish the outpost, which is home to 50 families, by the end of March.

The court ruled that the homes were built without proper authorization, on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.

Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin (Likud) mediated the agreement to prevent that demolition. But to implement it, the state must ask the court to cancel its demolition order.

The state has not yet turned to the court, veteran Migron resident Itai Harrel told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “We would need to sign that request before it is made. We have not been given any document to sign,” he said.

On Tuesday evening, Migron residents asked Likud activists and parliamentarians at the meeting to sign a petition in support of their outpost.

Rivlin told the Migron residents that he knew they were worried about their future.

“There is no legal or moral justification to evacuate Migron,” he said.

Still, Rivlin said he supported the compromise Begin had crafted. It allowed the settlers and their supporters to remain faithful to both their principles and the law, the Knesset speaker said.

Rivlin added that he was certain that the Attorney-General’s Office would submit the compromise to the court, and that the justices would accept it.

MK Ayoub Kara (Likud) said that communities like Migron were essential to the country’s security.

“What is good for Migron is good for me and is good for Israel,” the Druse lawmaker said. “Without Jews, there will be no democracy in this region. Therefore it is important for Israel to be Jewish and democratic.”

MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) warned the activists and Migron residents that the battle for outposts like Migron was really about the fight for continued Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“Let there be no misunderstanding: This is a political battle, not a legal one,” she said.

Such outposts needed to be authorized and recognized as legal Israeli communities, Hotovely said.

On January 30, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu created an “outpost committee” charged with examining land status in Judea and Samaria.

Migron residents have long said that the property on which their homes were constructed could be reclassified as state land.

Peace Now, which petitioned the state against Migron on behalf of Palestinians claiming the land, has insisted that this would be tantamount to theft.

Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer said on Monday it was now an issue of the rule of law. The Migron compromise would undermine the authority of the High Court, Oppenheimer said.

As part of their ongoing campaign, Migron residents hired media strategist Roni Rimon, who works in the office of Rimon, Cohen, Sheinkman.

Also on Tuesday, outside the Kiryat Arba settlement, activists and settlers gathered to rebuild the fledgling Mitzpe Avihai outpost, which was destroyed by security forces on January 12. Nine families had lived in temporary structures at the site.

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