The state on Wednesday asked the High Court of Justice to cancel its order to
evacuate the Migron outpost in the West Bank by the end of the month.
asked the court for an extension to allow all 50 Migron families time to build
permanent homes on 70 dunams (7 hectares) of state land 2 kilometers away by
November 30, 2015.
Right-wing politicians and settler leaders hailed the
request as a worthy compromise that respected the rule of law.
activists and politicians said it subverted the rule of law and broke Israel’s
pledge to the international community not to expand the boundaries of existing
The proposed new Migron site is under the auspices of the
Binyamin Regional Council but it does not belong to any settlement. Fifty of its
70 dunams are now zoned for commercial use.
The only structure is a
visitor center for the Psagot Winery that includes a parking lot.
50 dunams plus another 20 will now be rezoned for residential use.
part of the relocation plan, the state intends to expand the boundaries of the
nearby Kochav Ya’acov settlement to include the 70 dunams.
is located 300 meters away from the commercial area as the crow flies. The
settlement and the new Migron site are separated by a 1.5-kilometer-long
The state noted that experts had said the new site’s topography
could make construction difficult. But it added that this hardship could be
Once the Migron families have moved, the former site of their
outpost will be under the auspices of the Civil Administration of Judea and
The state turned to the court after months of negotiations with
the Migron settlers, led by Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin, to prevent
a forced evacuation of the outpost.
Only on Sunday night did Migron
residents sign an addendum letter stating that they agreed to
Their fate now lies in the hands of the High Court, which in
August issued a binding order to evacuate the outpost.
It said the
outpost, which is mostly composed of modular homes, was built without the proper
permits on private Palestinian property.
The court is expected to hold a
hearing on the matter before it issues a decision.
Peace Now, which filed
a petition against Migron, objected to the state’s request. It said that it made
a mockery of the court and violated Israel’s promises to the international
Peace Now’s attorney Michael Sfard said that a state request
to reverse a High Court ruling was unprecedented.
It has “disguised” that
request by asking for an extension, Sfard said. The state is asking the court
“to allow threeand- a-half more years of a land grab,” he said.
executive director Yaariv Oppenheimer said the state had put the justices in an
“The outcome of the solution, according to the
state, is that the Supreme Court would allow people to continue to sit on
private Palestinian land,” he said.
Oppenheimer also charged that
approval of permanent homes on the new site was tantamount to the creation of a
Israel, he said, promised the international community
that it would not build new West Bank settlements or expand the borders of
It was breaking that pledge by placing 70 additional
dunams of land within Kochav Ya’acov’s borders, he said.
that it will be easier for the international community to digest the expansion
of a settlement than the creation of a new one,” Oppenheimer said. “But that is
a fraud. This is a totally new settlement.”
The Prime Minister’s Office
did not respond to the accusation.
An Israeli official said, however,
that this was the best compromise that could be reached under the
Dani Dayan, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities
of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said, “I hope the Supreme Court will
approve the request which honors the rule of law and provides justice for the
residents. I think it is a fair way out of a difficult situation.”
Danny Danon (Likud) said, “The agreement was signed after a lot of work and
compromise from the pioneers who live in Migron.”
He said that no one
wanted to see a repeat of the violent clashes that occurred in 2006, when the
state demolished nine permanent structures at the Amona outpost.
said he hoped similar relocation agreements could be reached for other outposts
located on private Palestinian property, such as Givat Assaf and
“The Likud government was elected not to demolish Jewish homes. I
think we will do everything we can to prevent the demolition of any Jewish homes
in Judea and Samaria,” Danon said.
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said,
however, that “Netanyahu’s government continues to override the High Court of
Justice decisions and to cave in to the blackmail of the radical Migron
The Migron agreement is the second one that has been reached
to relocate the outpost.
In 2008, the government and the Council of
Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip agreed to move the
families to the nearby Adam settlement within two years.
never agreed to relocate and new homes were never built for them due to
According to a government report compiled by
attorney Talia Sasson in 2005, Migron was built in May 2001 with NIS 4.3 million
from the Construction and Housing Ministry.