Adam settlement to accept Migron families

The settlement of Adam would agree to absorb the 45 families living in the Migron outpost in the Judean hills, should a relocation agreement be reached between them and the government, Adam Council head Nissim Dahan told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "We hope that Migron will stay where it is," Dahan said, but added that in the event they were moved, the settlement's council had voted three weeks ago to accept them. He added that the vote had come after leaders from the Adam community spoke with the Defense Ministry's settlement adviser Eitan Broshi some two months ago. Adam is one of a number of settlements which the Defense Ministry is considering as a possible relocation site for Migron, which was created in 2002 and is one of the largest of the 101 outposts in the West Bank. On Wednesday, the state is expected to report to the High Court of Justice on any progress made toward reaching an agreement with the Migron families in which they would agree to leave voluntarily. In January, the state asked the court to delay the evacuation of the outpost for six months to give the parties more time to reach an agreement. The state had already agreed in September 2007 to delay the evacuation order it had issued in response to a petition by Peace Now. Peace Now is insisting that the state take action immediately against the outpost but in spite of their protests, it is likely that the state will once again ask for a delay to work out the details of a deal. The Defense Ministry and the head of the Binyamin Regional Council Avi Ro'eh have said they are hopeful an agreement could be reached for the voluntary relocation of Migron's residents, but Migron spokesman Gideon Rosenfeld denied that such a deal was in the works. "We don't plan to leave," he said, adding that he was sure they would outlast this government. He said the families feared that if they left, their departure would negatively impact the future of the remaining outposts. Still, in spite of his statements, Migron has forged a new relationship with the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip in recent months and has distanced itself from the more extreme right-wing groups, which oppose all settlement evacuations. As part of its struggle to remain at the outpost, Migron last week turned to a local Jerusalem court and asked that it rule on the status of the land, in hopes that the court would reclassify the property as abandoned instead of privately owned by Palestinians. Migron is of the opinion that such a reclassification would strengthen their hold on the property and move their outpost off the state's priority list, since part of the state's determination to evacuate Migron at this time stems from the belief that it was constructed on private Palestinian land. Dahan said that as of Monday, his settlement, Adam, had not heard any official word from the Defense Ministry as to the possible relocation of Migron. Broshi promised them that no final steps on the matter would be taken unless they were coordinated with the settlement, Dahan said. In the event that Migron was evacuated, the relocation of the families to his settlement would provide it with an additional measure of legitimacy, Dahan said. It would show that the government "recognizes Adam as a settlement that is indivisible from Israel" and supports its continued growth, said Dahan. Constructed in 1984 and located 6.6 kilometers over the green line, the settlement of Adam is home to some 3,000 people. It is a mixed community of secular and religious residents. In spite of its close proximity to the capital, the settlement is located outside of the security fence. The checkpoint at the entrance to the city has created a daily traffic jam which has made the commute into Jerusalem very difficult. Dahan said that during his talk with Broshi two months ago he presented plans to create a plan to ease the commute through the creation of a bridge that would allow the residents to skirt the fence and the checkpoint. He also spoke with Broshi about the settlement's need for more building permits. But no promises were made on either issue, Dahan said.