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Yesha Council Agrees to Relocate Migron

The Council decided Monday night to accept the transfer of Migron, in Samaria, to a nearby location. Residents might not be so quick to go.
By Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
First Publish: 8/11/2008, 11:30 PM

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The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) decided Monday night to unanimously accept a proposal to transfer the community of Migron in Samaria to a nearby location. The decision comes one week after the Binyamin Regional Council rejected the idea.

Migron, with over 40 families, is the largest community in Judea and Samaria that the government has termed an "illegal outpost," claiming that it was built after a 2001 agreement with the United States that called for no
The Sharon administration approved plans for the community.
additional towns in the area. Migron founders, however, have argued that the Sharon administration approved plans for the community before the agreement.

Migron (Samuel I 14:2; Isaiah 10, 28) is a strategically critical hilltop community north of Jerusalem, overlooking the Jerusalem-Samaria highway. It grew very quickly following its founding in March 2002, swelling to 40 families within less than a year and a half - but the government then clamped down, and barely a single new trailer home has been allowed in since.

In 2006, Arab activists and the far-left Peace Now organization demanded that the High Court of Justice force the government to destroy Migron, arguing it was established on Arab-owned land. In January 2008, both the state and the court acceded to the petition and set this month as a deadline to carry out the order. The court later stated it would allow more time if the government and Migron residents could reach a non-violent resolution involving relocation.

Migron founders claim that the lands they are being asked to relinquish were purchased by Jews through an Arab-fronted, but Migron-controlled, purchasing agency.

And If Migron Will Not Go?
In June, Eitan Baroshi, the Defense Minister's Advisor for Settlement Affairs, told Army Radio, "Migron will not be evacuated by August, despite the State's promise to the Supreme Court." He said that the goal is to reach an agreement with the residents and to avoid a violent evacuation.

Residents of Migron have repeatedly insisted that they will not leave their homes of their own volition. Migron organizers wrote, in an internal community bulletin, several months ago, "We are the testing ground for all the residents of Judea and Samaria vis-a-vis the government's weakness. We are the first stone in the dam, but it is within our power to prevent the fall of the entire dam."

Samaria Regional Council Chairman Gershon Masika said that he believes the struggle over Migron will be violent. It will be "a second Amona," he warned, and will make that earlier confrontation look like no more than an "opening shot."

Many pro-Israel groups are supporting the position of Migron. Susie Dym, spokesperson for the Cities of Israel grassroots movement says that the fall of Migron is an existential threat to Israel. "If the Jewish Nations chooses to surrender land, it will quickly find itself not only beyond the Green Line (1967 border), but beyond the blue line (Mediterranean coastline)." Dym said that the legal case against Migron is not a strong one and that solutions could be found if the government wanted to.