Mofaz urges Migron settlers to evacuate peacefully

Court rejects Migron residents' petition to delay eviction; opposition leader says PM's inaction is real problem.

Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz 370 (R) (photo credit: Reuters / Pool)
Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz 370 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters / Pool)
Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz said on Thursday that the settlers of Migron should follow the law and evacuate the settlement peacefully.
In an interview with Israel Radio, Mofaz said the problem was not Migron, but the political inaction of the prime minister who has declared his commitment to the two-state solution, but has not embarked upon the political process.
"I am more concerned about us being a bi-national state than I am about a nuclear Iran," Mofaz commented.
Contrastingly, Likud MK Danny Danon attacked the High Court of Justice's decision to evacuate Migron and said that if the settlers were Palestinians or Sudanese, the decision would be different.
Danon called on the prime minister to immediately adopt the Justice Edmond Levy report, that has stated that there is "no occupation."
Migron residents called on their supporters Wednesday to protest the High Court of Justice ruling that all 50 families in the West Bank outpost evacuate their homes no later than September 4.
The court’s decision appears to mark the end of Migron residents’ long legal battle to retain their homes.
Four Migron residents and Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Ro’eh held a brief press conference in the community’s small kindergarten classroom. “We are calling on every Israeli citizen to protest the injustice that was done here. It does not matter if they are left- or right-wing,” said Migron resident Shuki Sat.
But residents who spoke at the press conference did not clarify what they meant by the word “protest.”
Nor would they commit to leaving of their own volition, as mandated by the court. In a document submitted to the court earlier this week, in advance of the judgement, they stated that they had no intention of acting violently.
Migron resident Itai Chemo said that no decision had been taken with respect to leaving their homes.
The Defense Ministry told the media they were ready to help the residents relocate to a site that has been prepared for them, two kilometers away near the Psagot winery.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein issued a plea to Migron residents and their leaders to refrain from inflammatory actions and to act responsibly by respecting the rule of law. Weinstein called on the Migron families to relocate peacefully, adding that he understood the court’s decision was not an easy one for Migron residents.
At the press conference, Sat said, “This is a black day for Israeli democracy. It is a day when the government has trampled on the basic rights of its citizens and has betrayed the principles of its party, the Likud, and its land.”
“The prime minister has now joined some of his predecessors who raised a hand against the settlement enterprise. We are certain that his voters will even the score,” Sat said.
Migron residents will continue to settle the land, and on this hilltop in the future, two settlements will exist, he said.
The High Court of Justice had ordered the outpost’s demolition in the summer of 2011 because it was built without permits on land classified by the state as belonging to private Palestinians.
Last month, Migron residents petitioned the court to allow 17 of the families to remain there, claiming that they had purchased the three plots of land on which their homes stood from the Palestinian owners.
On Wednesday, however, the court rejected their petition.
But it did agree to allow the buildings on lot 10 to remain for 90 days, to allow time to investigate the validity of the purchase claim.
The court, however, said that the families must leave because it agreed with the state’s opinion that there was no legal possibility for Israelis to live on that lot of land, without infringing on the rights of Palestinians who owned the abutting lots.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report