State will not oppose Migron petition to High Court

Ministerial Committee on Settlements meets to decide on state’s position regarding West Bank outpost.

July 18, 2012 02:30
2 minute read.
Migron outpost

Migron outpost 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

The state does not plan to oppose a High Court of Justice petition by the residents of the West Bank Migron outpost to remain in their homes.

Last summer, the High Court of Justice issued a binding order mandating the state to evacuate the outpost by August 1, because it was built without proper permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.

But early this month, outpost residents announced that they had purchased 2.5 out of 5 hectares on which the outpost is located from its Palestinian landowners.

Migron residents then petitioned the court to rescind its order given that they had documents proving recent proof of purchase.

The court agreed to hear their petition next Sunday. In advance of that hearing, the Ministerial Committee on Settlements – headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – met for over an hour Tuesday to decide on the state’s position, which the prosecutor’s office is scheduled to submit to the court on Wednesday.

According to a participant in the meeting, the ministers stood by the policy that homes built without permits on private Palestinian property, such as in the case of Migron, must be removed. But the ministers believe if the court authenticates the land purchase, than there was no reason to remove the homes.

They noted that the state was not party to the petition, nor had it initiated it. But that if it is asked to give its opinion, the state does not plan to oppose it.

Some members of the prosecutor’s office argued that the court mandate should be upheld irrespective of the purchase. But ministers said that Migron residents had a right to make their case to the court.

Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein told The Jerusalem Post after the meeting that he was pleased with the way the discussion went.

“After the discussion today we understand the importance of the committee. From now on policy won’t be determined by the private initiative of this or that government employ but through well discussed and properly formulated government decision,” Edelstein said.

Migron spokesman Itai Chemo said he was hopeful that this was the first step toward the legalization of the outpost, which is located in the Binyamin Region of the West Bank, just outside of Jerusalem.

At present, however, the outpost is scheduled to be relocated two kilometers away to an area near the Psagot Winery. The Binyamin Regional Council is in the midst of building module homes for the 50 families by the winery.

After Migron residents filed their petition, the court placed a gag order on any details, which might identify the Palestinian property owners.

The Palestinian Authority imposes a death sentence on Palestinians who sell property to Jews.

Separately on Wednesday, the Knesset State Control Committee is expected to explore the issue of Migron and the plenum plans to debate the matter.

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