Migron residents walk by site of demolished home_311.
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Confused about Migron? You should be after so much misinformation. Try these
basic questions: Where is the alleged Arab owner of the land? Why doesn’t he
show up with proper documents and demand his property? Answer: Because the
person who registered this property with the Jordanian government died in or
about 1965, apparently without heirs.
According to Ministers Dan Meridor
and Bennie Begin, once land is registered it is considered private property. If
someone else uses it without his/her permission, it’s against the law. This is
true, except for one critical fact: the alleged Arab owner never bought the
property. He received it as a gift from the then-king of Jordan Hussein, but
never used it or paid taxes on it. That’s a problem.
Ottoman, British and Jordanian law – which Israel’s judicial system accepts –
there are several categories of land that is ownerless and therefore considered
property of the State, or the Sovereign. It can be given, but only on
State Land, called Miri, could be registered, but ownership
could only be transferred with the approval of the state. Rights could be
transferred to heirs, but if the owner died intestate (without a will) and
without heirs, or if the land was not cultivated for three years, and in some
cases up to 10 years, the land automatically reverts to the state. Not only did
taxes have to be paid, the land had to be used.
Claims by Arabs and NGOs
like Peace Now that Jews are “stealing private Palestinian land,” therefore need
to be examined carefully by proper courts. Unfortunately, Chief Justice Dorit
Beinisch, relying on misinformation provided by the State Prosecutor’s office
and Civil Administration, decided that Migron should be destroyed.
decision, however, could not have been the result of ignorance, since she was
fully aware that the lower court which adjudicates such claims had never
examined the case, or the disputed documents.
Nor is this an isolated
case of police and judicial bias.
In December 2009, police withdrew
charges against Maon Farm residents who had been arrested and charged with
trespassing after it was proven that the Arab who claimed the land did not in
fact own it. Yet Civil Administration officials had testified in court that it
was his property.
Bias in the State Prosecutor’s office is not new. The
former head of its Criminal Department, Talia Sasson, wrote a devastating report
against Jewish communities in Yesha in 2005 and later ran for Knesset in the
left-wing Meretz party. According to insiders, the office is filled with
The Civil Administration, especially its
current head, Gen. Nitzan Alon, an outspoken foe of settlements, serves as the
arm of the Defense Ministry and is responsible for approving building plans in
Judea and Samaria. Last week, according to a report by Chaim Levinson in
Haaretz, the zoning committee, headed by Shlomo Moskowitz, “in an unprecedented
move... rejected a government proposal to legalize the West Bank outpost of
Sansana,” near Eshkolit in the southern Hebron Hills area.
left-wing civil servant can arbitrarily override government and Knesset
decisions indicates the extent to which basic institutions have been
The struggle over Migron is a symptom of the government’s
inability to make policy decisions.
Moving Migron from one hilltop to
another, destroying Jewish communities and homes and evacuating Jews won’t solve
fundamental question of whether Jews have the right to live in Judea and
Samaria, and to whom this area rightfully belongs.
Migron touches the
spinal nerve of the sovereignty of the Jewish People in Eretz
Yisrael.The writer is a PhD historian, author and journalist.