'Alternate Migron outpost housing site not ready'

48 hours ahead of court-mandated deadline for evacuation, cabinet secretary visits new replacement homes.

CABINET SECRETARY Zvi Hauser visits modular homes 370 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
CABINET SECRETARY Zvi Hauser visits modular homes 370
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
Less than 48 hours until the deadline for the court-mandated evacuation of all 50 families from the West Bank Migron outpost, Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro’eh said on Sunday that the new modular site he was constructing for the settlers was not ready.
Ro’eh made his statement in a letter that he penned to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen Eitan Dangot, in which he said that the public institutions were still under construction, including the school and the mikve.
Ro’eh added that a number of safety issues related to the site had to be addressed.
On Sunday evening, he showed the site to cabinet secretary Tzvi Hauser, who came to see for himself the plot of land near the Psagot winery, just two kilometers from where the original outpost is located.
The hilltop, home to both the new and old outpost sites is in the Binyamin region of the West Bank and comes under the auspices of Ro’eh’s council.
New modular homes have been installed, with pathways and roads at the site.
When The Jerusalem Post walked into a home, it found running water, but no electricity.
The area still looks like a construction site, with tractors and piles of construction material.
Ro’eh’s letter came in response to a demand Dangot made in writing late last week to evacuate the outpost by Tuesday morning, when the High Court of Justice is set to hold a hearing on Migron.
Previously, on Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called on Migron residents to respect the court decision and said that in return he would strengthen the settlement enterprise.
“We did this in Beit El and we will do this in Migron,” Netanyahu said.
He made his comments during the weekly meeting of Likud cabinet ministers. Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon warned, in that forum, that Migron families who do not voluntarily relocate won’t be able to move to the new housing site.
But there is a difference of opinion as to when exactly Migron must be evacuated.
Dangot believes it must be dismantled by Tuesday morning.
Ro’eh is of the opinion that the evacuation is only supposed to occur after a court hearing on the matter on Tuesday, and possibly even later this week.
Last summer the High Court issued a binding ruling in which it said the outpost must be evacuated because it was built without permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
The court issued its ruling in response to a 2006 petition by Peace Now on behalf of the Palestinian owners.
Migron residents claimed they had purchased some of the property and that other lots could be reclassified by the state as abandoned property. The court and the state have not recognized this claim.
Last winter, Migron residents came to an agreement with the state to relocate within two-and-a-half years to allow time for the Binyamin Regional Council to construct permanent homes for the families. The court rejected that timetable, and insisted instead that the families relocate in August.
Ro’eh immediately began constructing modular homes for the families on a new site.
Last month Migron residents claimed that they repurchased lots on which 17 of the families live. They petitioned the High Court to allow those families to remain.
The Ministerial Settlements Committee initially said it had no objection if the purchase were validated. But the attorney general’s office told the court that the stance was legally problematic because it was not possible for Israelis to live on the site without violating the rights of the Palestinian landowners.
Outpost residents have called on the government to demand the court allow them to remain on the outpost or at the very least to allow the 17 families to remain.
On Sunday they held a small protest outside their outpost in which they mockingly made its name sound Arabic. They put up a sign stating that this was Al- Majroon, because they believe the government cares more for the rights of Palestinians than Israelis.