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Daily Israel Report

State Asks to Delay Migron Razing Until 2015

State attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to delay the destruction of Migron until 2015 pursuant to a deal struck with the residents.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 3/14/2012, 10:28 PM

Migron
Migron
Reuters
The government on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to postpone the dismantling of Migron until 2015.

The request was submitted as the court's deadline to remove Migron's community of 300 by the end of March amid a land dispute.

Following the Supreme Court's order, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government negotiated a deal with Migron's residents allowing them to stay put until new homes are built for them on a nearby hilltop. 

The government told the court that construction of the new homes would be completed by November 2015.

Migron's residents began setting up outposts without formal government approval in the 1990s, but officials subsequently gave assistance to the community.

Sources close to the case say the residents may have been the victims of a land-fraud scheme in which local Arabs sold them land they themselves had no claim to.

The eviction order was issued under the aegis of former Supreme Court chief justice Dorit Bensich, who ruled that all non-state owned lands in Judea and Samaria were presumptively 'Arab land.'

It has been reported in the Hebrew-language press that the Arabs to whom the land originally belonged have been absent for generations, which renders it "abandoned property" that can be claimed by the state and apportioned for Jewish communities. 

The ruling was highly criticized  because the Supreme Court - which does not hear evidientiary matters - failed to refer the Migron case to a lower case competent to review pertinent evidence and establish the facts of land ownership.

One of the stipulations of the government's deal with Migron's residents is that the structures built on disputed land will remain standing until the evidence is reviewed. State prosecutors have since said that will not be the case.

Meanwhile, a government panel is reviewing findings of a 2005 government-commissioned report that concluded Migron and dozens of other outposts were built "without authorization."

A key task put before the committee is a reevaluation of the controversial Sasson report and its classification of private Arab property in Judea and Samaria.

The Sasson report – commissioned by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and released by former State Attorney's Criminal Division head Talia Sasson on 8 March 2005 – was considered unobjective and left-oriented as soon as it was publicized. Those suspicions were validated when Sasson ran on the ultra-left Meretz party Knesset list several years after writing the report..

In addition to land classification problems, the Sasson report is strongly criticized for its conclusion that Jewish neighborhoods founded before the 6 December 2004 regulation government authorization to build in Judea and Samaria was required were "unauthorized."

Prior to the 2004 directive, all construction in Judea and Samaria fell under Government Resolution 150 from 2 August 1996, which stipulated that the Defense Minister had the authority to authorize new communities.

The vast majority of communities the Sasson Report defined as "unauthorized" had been given the green light by the Defense Ministry prior to 6 December 2004.