Settlers leaders to vote on moving Migron outpost

On Wednesday night, an administrative body of the Binyamin council overwhelmingly rejected the plan.

Migron 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Migron 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The settler leadership is set to vote next week on a Defense Ministry proposal to relocate the unauthorized Migron outpost, most likely to an undeveloped area of a nearby settlement. The move comes after close to two years of talks between the two sides on a deal to voluntarily relocate the 45 families who live in the community, situated in the Judean hills a short distance north of Jerusalem. Migron is high on the government's priority list because it is one of the largest of the 101 unauthorized West Bank outposts and because the government believes that its modular homes are located on private Palestinian property. The Migron families have already told the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip that they have no intention of moving, the council's spokesman Gidon Rosenfeld said. It was dangerous for the council to even consider participating in a process that could lead to the evacuation of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria, Rosenfeld said. The move weakened the overall settlement movement, he added. Council chairman Dani Dayan disagreed. Legal issues prevent the Migron families from obtaining permits to build permanent homes on the hilltop where they have lived since 2002, he said. "So the core of the agreement we are considering is that Migron will relocate to an adjacent place" in which permanent legal homes could be constructed. He added that he did not yet have a date for the vote by the council's 21-member executive committee. Should it approve the matter, he said, the Binyamin Regional Council and the outpost's residents would have to be brought on board. According to the proposal, the Migron families would not be required to move until their new homes were finished, Dayan said. The location of the new homes could be as close as a few hundred meters from where they live now. The only difference would be the legal status of the community. As part of the agreement, the Migron community would remain an independent entity, even if it was moved to land that fell within the boundaries of another settlement, he said. In May, Dayan went to Migron and promised it would become a permanent settlement and remain in the area forever. "If Migron becomes a permanent community," Dayan said, he would had kept to his word. On Wednesday night, an administrative body of the Binyamin council overwhelmingly rejected the plan. But council head Avi Ro'eh said he planned to bring the matter to the council's larger representative body next week. He would not say what he thought the outcome of that vote would be, adding only that "it will be interesting." Rosenfeld said that despite the nice sounding promises, he was loath to place his faith in the deal. More to the point, he said, the Migron families still hoped to legalize the community at its present location. They dispute the allegation that Migron is built on Palestinian-owned land. The outpost last week asked a Jerusalem court to rule on the status of the land. Dayan said the two process were not incompatible. Should the court rule in Migron's favor there would be no reason to move the outpost, he said. But should that case fail, a plan was needed to solve the issue, he added.