Rivlin urges government to authorize Migron outpost

Danon defends police officer threatened with losing his job for living in community; Rivlin says authorizing Migron is only solution.

Boy walks past homes in W. Bank outpost of Migron 311 (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Boy walks past homes in W. Bank outpost of Migron 311
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
The West Bank outpost of Migron received a boost this week from Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud), who called from the plenum podium for the government to authorize the community just off Highway 60, north of Jerusalem and east of Ramallah.
As long as Migron remained unauthorized, he said, its homes would remain under threat of demolition, particularly the three whose destruction was delayed this week when the state announced that it would move against them in August instead of at the end of July.
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During a plenum debate on Wednesday, Rivlin said he had telephoned the Migron residents to tell them, “The threat has not been averted, it was simply delayed. We can’t prevent it, unless the demolition order becomes irrelevant because the construction has been authorized.”
Authorizing Migron is the only solution, he said. He added that he had made this request to the attorney-general, the prime minister and the defense minister.
Migron residents are also awaiting a High Court of Justice ruling in response to a petition by Peace Now to demolish the entire outpost. A hearing on the matter was held this week.
Fifty families live in the outpost, which was founded in 1999 and re-founded in 2001, just outside of Jerusalem in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. It was constructed with NIS 4.3 million from the Ministry of Construction and Housing, but without the proper permits.
According to the state it was built on private Palestinian property. Migron settlers say this is false.
Separately from the Peace Now petition, the state has said that it would destroy three recently constructed homes in Migron by the end of August.
One of the three homes belongs to a policeman, whose job was threatened this week unless he left his house.
His cause was taken up by MK Danny Danon (Likud), who met him earlier in the week during a tour of the outpost, after asking why a tent had been pitched outside the home.
The policeman explained that he was sleeping in it, because his superiors had recently told him he could not keep his job if he stayed in his house.
“I saw a policeman whose wife is in her ninth month of pregnancy, sleeping in a tent outside of his house,” Danon told the Knesset on Wednesday.
In the plenum, he accused Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu) of selective enforcement of the law.
He asked Aharonovitch if there was a new policy of firing policemen who lack the proper authorizations for their homes.
Aharonovitch responded that the police cannot enforce the law in one place while breaking it in another. This isn’t a new policy, Aharonovitch said.
Danon disagreed that this building code standard was applied in such a strict way across the board.
“What is the criteria?” he asked.
“If a policeman didn’t enclose his porch properly according to the law, is he always asked to leave his house?” asked Danon.
“My question is, where do we draw the line?” “If Aharonovitch was given a list of policemen in similar situations, would they all suffer the same fate?” he asked.
MK David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) said that the issue in Migron was a not a typical example of lawbreaking, because all that was needed to change the situation was for the prime minister to instruct the defense minister to legalize the construction, and the problem would be resolved.
MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) said he believed that the law had been selectively applied to the officer from Migron, given that a similar issue existed with police officers from minority sectors such as the Beduin who live in unrecognized villages.
Aharonovitch defended the position that the policeman could not live in his home in Migron.
This isn’t an issue of politics, it is one of law, he said. There were other instances where police living in illegal structures had been asked to leave their home until the matter was resolved, Aharonovitch said.