C'tee transfers NIS 8m. to relocate Migron homes

HJC extends evacuation deadline to August 28; Peace Now: Government obligated to announce intent to evacuate outpost.

Migron outpost 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Migron outpost 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Finance Committee on Monday night allocated NIS 8.32 million to relocate some structures from the Migron outpost in the West Bank to the site near the Psagot winery where the families are due to relocate later this month.
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer on Tuesday attacked the cash transfer, noting it was ironic that the state had put aside money for an evacuation it had yet to support.
“Authorization of an additional NIS 8.32m. for the relocation of Migron obligates the government to tell the High Court of Justice that it intends to evacuate the outpost,” Oppenheimer said.
He warned that the total cost of relocating the outpost had now exceeded NIS 65m. and could reach as high as NIS 100m.
After “robbing the public coffers in this way” the state cannot retract its initial promises to the court to evacuate the outpost, Oppenheimer said.
His organization had initially petitioned the High Court of Justice against the outpost in 2006.
Last summer the court ordered the outpost to be evacuated, because it was built without the proper permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
The deadline for that evacuation was initially set for March, extended to August 1 and then moved again to August 21 in response to state requests to delay the move.
In July Migron residents announced that they had purchased many of the lots on which their homes are located from the Palestinian landowners. They have since petitioned the High Court to cancel its evacuation decree, issued last August.
The Ministerial Committee on Settlements, which now sets policy for state responses to the court, said that if the land purchase was authenticated there was no reason to evacuate the Migron homes.
During a July court hearing on the matter, state attorney Osnat Mandel said there was a disagreement between her office and the government with respect to that claim by the ministerial committee, because Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein found it legally problematic.
Mandel said that as a result the state needed more time to formulate its position. The court has given the state until 1 p.m. on August 19 to submit that position to the judges.
On Friday, however, it extended the deadline for a hearing on the matter from August 21 to August 28, at the request of Peace Now; Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said her organization had a scheduling conflict.
As a result, the High Court has also extended the evacuation deadline from August 21 to August 28. The extension provides Migron residents as well as the state with needed extra time.
For technical reasons, state preparations to create a temporary relocation site near the Psagot winery, two km. away from the initial outpost, have been delayed.
Migron families, who continue to seek a way to remain in their current location, hope the reprieve provides them with more time to find a solution that would not involve the evacuation of the outpost – which is located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank, just outside of Jerusalem.