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Lawyers and Academics Slam Prosecution Over Migron

Lawyers and academics accuse the Prosecution of putting politics first when it comes to the Migron demolition.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/14/2012, 2:10 AM

Migron
Migron
Hillel Maeir

More than 50 lawyers and academics on Monday sent an open letter to Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and Cabinet Secretary Tzvi Hauser, in which they criticize the conduct of the Prosecution in the case of the planned demolition in Migron.

Among the signatories are Israel Prize winner Professor Nahum Rakover, formerly the Deputy Attorney General, law professor Eliav Shochetman and Dr. Itamar Warhaftig, professor of Jewish Law at Bar-Ilan University.

In the letter, the signatories remind of the decision of the Ministerial Committee for Settlement Affairs not to oppose a recent petition filed to the Supreme Court by 17 families of Migron, who have asked that the planned demolition of their homes be canceled. The families said that most of the land was secretly purchased from several Palestinian Authority Arab owners through transactions financed by a U.S. donor.

“It has been over three weeks and the State Prosecution refuses to announce that it will represent the government's position in the Supreme Court,” they wrote.

“We the undersigned - jurists, lawyers and academics - hereby call on the State Prosecution to fulfill its role and to represent the Israeli government's position before the Supreme Court,” they added.

“Regardless the political position of each and every one of us, it is clear that the duty of the Prosecution is to recognize the basic property rights of all citizens, including residents of Judea and Samaria, and to enable the residents of Migron to exercise their proprietary right.

“Ignoring the government's decision and a desire to continue the eviction process without giving the required weight to the change in the legal reality that occurred with the purchase of the land from the Palestinians, may raise concern among the public that these are not just purely legal considerations,” they concluded.

State Prosecutor Osnat Mandel told the Supreme Court that she is not able to present to the court the opinion of the Ministerial Committee on Settlement Affairs regarding Migron. She said she cannot present this position because Weinstein believes there are legal difficulties with it.

A few weeks ago, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis ruled that the planned demolition of homes in Migron will be postponed by at least 20 days.

Grunis gave the parties to the appeal additional time to respond to a suit brought by Arabs who claim ownership to some of the land on which the town of Migron is built. The parties have until August 19th to respond, and the expulsion of families from Migron will begin on August 21st at the earliest.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel has said that the State Attorney's Office and Weinstein have put politics before professionalism in the matter of Migron.

Forum Director Nachi Eyal accused the Justice Ministry officials of purposely disobeying the government's decision.

National Union chairman MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz has said he intends to submit a bill to the Knesset, that will stipulate that an Attorney General who refuses to present the government’s position before the Supreme Court will be fired.

Last week, MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) presented Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with a petition signed by 5,000 Jews from 40 countries, calling on him to prevent the eviction of the residents of Migron.