'Gov't respects court decision to evacuate Migron'

PM: Gov't will strengthen settlements, has already built an alternate housing site; Yesha slams COGAT note on outpost eviction.

Migron outpost 370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Migron outpost 370
(photo credit: Reuters)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the government respected the High Court's decision to evacuate the Migron outpost, and would simultaneously strengthen the settlements.
"We did so in Beit-El and we'll do it in Migron," Netanyahu said. "We have already built an alternate housing site and we hope that things will be done in a peaceful way," he added.
Earlier Sunday Yesha Council chairman Danny Dayan spoke out against a letter sent Thursday night to Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro’eh advising him that he must evacuate the Migron outpost by Tuesday morning, calling it "inflammatory."
Dayan told Israel Radio that the letter, sent by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, should not have been sent and was unnecessarily inflammatory.
Migron residents and the Binyamin region on Saturday night said they are holding firm to their understanding that the evacuation of the West Bank outpost is not scheduled to occur until after a High Court of Justice hearing on the matter on Tuesday.
Dayan said that the Migron residents did not violate any law or agreement in their decision not to evacuate by Tuesday morning. "Settlers are also allowed to put their hopes on the Supreme Court and to hope that their petition will be accepted," said Dayan.
Migron residents are hopeful that the court will delay the evacuation of 17 of the 50 outpost families, until it can determine the authenticity of their claim that they purchased the land on which those 17 families live.
In his letter, Dangot told Ro’eh that his office and that of the Defense Ministry had made every effort possible to facilitate a peaceful evacuation, including providing an alternative site for the families to live.
He added that the two offices were willing to help the families with the move.
But he warned that the IDF would forcibly evict the families if they had not relocated by Tuesday morning.
He said that security officials would have to reconsider whether to allow them to move into the new homes, which are located two kilometers away near the Psagot winery.
But Ro’eh said it was his understanding that the families did not have to move until after the court hearing. He added that he had plans to move them, but was only planning to execute them later this week.
Ro’eh said he remained hopeful that the court would delay the evacuation, or at the very least allow the 17 families to remain.
Asking families to leave their homes is not something that should be done lightly, he said, and it is important to do so only after every option for a reprieve has been exhausted.
On Friday morning Migron families held a small protest outside the Prime Minister’s Residence asking him to halt the evacuation.
Migron resident Shuki Sad said that residents were waiting to see what happened in court. He added that the only boxes to be found in the outpost these days were ones that belonged to two new families who had just moved in.
Last summer the High Court ordered the state to evacuate the Migron outpost because it was built without permits on land classified by the state as private Palestinian property. Migron residents had argued that they had purchased some of the property and that other portions of the outpost were located on land that could be reclassified as abandoned property.
The court and the state never recognized those claims.
Migron residents last winter signed an agreement with the state to relocate, based on the understanding that the process would take over two years and that the buildings would remain on the site.
The High Court, however, insisted that the site must be evacuated this month.
Last month Migron residents petitioned the court to allow the 17 families to remain, claiming that they had repurchased some of the lots.
The Attorney-General’s Office in its statement to the court last week said that even if the purchase claims were validated, it was not possible for Israelis to live on the site without infringing on the private property rights of the Palestinian land owners.
Last week residents of the nearby Givat Assaf outpost sent a letter to Migron residents in which they begged the 17 families to resist evacuation.
“We the Givat Assaf residents, together with the nation of Israel, will stand by your side,” they said in the letter.
“With God’s help, we will be strong and be strengthened for our nation and for God’s cities,” they said in the document, which was leaked to the media Thursday.
In the letter, they made a distinction between the status of the other 33 families who live in the outpost, and the group of 17 families who claim to have purchased the property on which their homes are located.
The Givat Assaf residents noted that Migron families have bravely fought for the right of Jews to remain in their homes in Judea and Samaria for years.
They had respected the right of the families to make an agreement with the government to relocate to an area by the Psagot winery, the residents said.
They added that they had kept silent even when the state broke many aspects of its relocation agreement with Migron residents, including the timeline and an informal pledge that the structures would remain on the site.
But the moment the state in its response to the court said that the residents had to leave even if their land was legally purchased, the situation changed significantly, the Givat Assaf residents said.
They noted that this state document set a precedent that did not bode well for future cases in which disputed land is purchased in Judea and Samaria.
The Givat Assaf outpost is located off of Route 60, a short distance away from Migron, and was also built without permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
The 25 Givat Assaf families are also fighting a legal battle to remain in their homes.