Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


High Alert: 42 Families Threatened With Expulsion

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz has given orders to uproot and dismantle the "outpost" of Migron - including all 42 of its families. Local and neighboring residents are preparing to resist.
First Publish: 12/15/2003, 1:33 PM

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz has given orders to uproot and dismantle the "outpost" of Migron - including all 42 of its families - and it may happen on Thursday.

Migron was officially established almost two years ago on a hilltop overlooking the Shomron's central artery Highway 60, which leads from Jerusalem to Binyamin and Shomron towns such as Ofrah, Beit El, Shilo, and Eli. The tall buildings of Jerusalem can be clearly seen to the south, thus that Migron is part of Jerusalem's defense belt.

The town never received all its written permits, thus rendering it an "illegal outpost," but its construction was rushed along and encouraged by many national and local government offices. In particular, a road was paved, caravans and playgrounds were stationed at the site, security was provided, and other help was administered.
Mofaz has ordered O.C. Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky to prepare an order that will bypass the need to receive Supreme Court approval for the evacuation of the families.

Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports that information in the hands of Yesha Council leaders indicates that the dismantling will take place this Thursday, ignoring the legal process that is necessary to do so. The strategy will be to highlight the fact that Israeli law does not apply to Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and that the IDF is sovereign. Buildings and towns will thus be able to be demolished without receiving legal approval.

IDF officers arrived at the site yesterday to ascertain what equipment will be needed for the evacuation.

A senior military Central Command source told Huberman that Migron has the added problem of questionable land-status. Even though much of the property is Jewish-owned, some of it is not. On the other hand, the main pusher behind the establishment of Migron was none other than Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, who served in the past as Central Commander. Yaalon was among those who frequently warned that the site was a critically strategic point, and that if Israel does not take it, the Arabs would. Another recent Central Commander, Yitzchak Eitan, who was not a great friend of the Jewish settlement enterprise in Yesha, also insisted that the site remain Jewish. He even told then-Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer that if Jewish civilians were not permitted to remain, he would build an army outpost there. "This point must not be abandoned," he said.

The 130 residents of Migron, virtually all of them young couples and families, have no other homes - thus that their expulsion would be a "transfer" in the full sense of the word. This would be the first time such a transfer will have occurred since the destruction of Yamit in 1982 - although in that case, the residents were set up with alternative homes beforehand.

Migron's first residents were two young bachelors who set up a container on the deserted hilltop over four years ago, with the encouragement of Gen Yaalon. After a period of negotiations, the two agreed to leave, in exchange for a promise to start the procedure to build a town there. An antenna was placed there - and that was it. Defense Ministry bureaucracy took over, blocking all progress, until the first families moved up in March 2002. Twenty of the founding families are members of the Yeshivat Har HaMor kollel in Jerusalem. "If we had more caravans, we could easily have numbered 100 families by now," says Itai Har'el, the town's absorption coordinator.

Several public institutions and offices are operative in Migron, including a Leumit Health Fund clinic, a branch of the Binyamin Council Library, three nurseries, a game center, a synagogue, and more. The name Migron is mentioned twice in the Bible: once in connection with King Saul's battle with the Philistines in the area of Binyamin (Sam. I 14,2) and once in reference to King Sennacherib's march on Jerusalem.

The welcome sign at the entrance to Migron announces the community's mission statement: "Migron, a communal town, was founded on the 19th of Adar 5762 [March 3, 2002], despite difficulties - out of the belief in the Eternity of Israel. The force that drives us is the knowledge that the unity of Nation, Faith, and Land brings peace and redemption. Welcome."

Amanah Settlement Organization head Ze'ev Chever (Zambish) is likely to hold a press conference in Migron tomorrow, in which he will present all the facts regarding the legal status of Migron. Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu will also arrive tomorrow. He has made clear that if a community or an outpost that has been approved by a government level is dismantled, the nationalist camp parties must quit the government.

The entire work force of the Binyamin Regional Council and associated bodies are convening today to decide on their next steps. A network has been established in all the Binyamin communities - Adam, Psagot, Kokhav Yaakov, Rimonim, etc. - to call on all residents to arrive at Migron to stop the destruction of their neighboring town. A large 200-square-meter tent has been erected to house the masses of people expected to arrive, and generators and large containers have also been brought.
Migron on the Chopping Block
Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz has given orders to uproot and dismantle the "outpost" of Migron - including all 42 of its families.

Migron is over four years old, although its official establishment dates from almost two years ago. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the Shomron's central artery Highway 60, which leads from Jerusalem to Binyamin and Shomron towns such as Ofrah, Beit El, Shilo, and Eli. The tall buildings of Jerusalem can be clearly seen to the south, such that Migron is part of Jerusalem's defense belt.

Mofaz has ordered O.C. Central Command Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky to prepare an order that will bypass the need to receive Supreme Court approval for the evacuation of the families. Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reports that information in the hands of Yesha Council leaders indicates that the dismantling will take place this Thursday, ignoring the necessary legal process. The strategy will be to highlight the fact that Israeli law does not apply to Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and that the IDF is sovereign there. Buildings and towns will thus be able to be demolished without receiving legal approval.

IDF officers arrived at the site of Migron yesterday to ascertain what equipment will be needed for the evacuation.

A senior military Central Command source told Huberman that Migron has the added problem of questionable land-status. Even though much of the property is Jewish-owned, some of it is not. On the other hand, the main driving force behind the establishment of Migron was none other than Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon, who served in the past as Central District Commander. Yaalon was among those who frequently warned that the site was a critically strategic point, and that if Israel does not take it, the Arabs would. Another recent Central Commander, Yitzchak Eitan, who was not a great friend of the Jewish settlement enterprise in Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza), also insisted that the site remain Jewish. He even told then-Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer that if Jewish civilians were not permitted to remain, he would build an army outpost there. "This site must not be abandoned," he said.

The 130 residents of Migron, virtually all of them young couples and families, have no other homes - and this would thus be an "expulsion" in the full sense of the word. It would be the first time such a transfer will have occurred since the destruction of Yamit in 1982 - although in that case, the residents were provided with alternative housing options beforehand.

Amanah Settlement Organization head Ze'ev Chever (Zambish) is likely to hold a press conference in Migron tomorrow, in which he will present all the facts regarding the legal status of Migron.

The entire work force of the Binyamin Regional Council and associated bodies are convening today in Migron to decide on their next steps. A network has been established in all the Binyamin communities - Adam, Psagot, Kokhav Yaakov, Rimonim, etc. - to call on all residents to arrive at Migron to stop the destruction of their neighboring town. A large 200-square-meter tent has been erected to house the masses of people expected to arrive, and generators and large containers have also been brought.

Minister Mofaz told people who spoke with him about Migron in the past few days that it was Prime Minister Sharon, under heavy American pressure, who made the decision to destroy Migron. Sharon has experience in decisions of this nature; in 1982, as Defense Minister under Prime Minister Menachem Begin, he oversaw the destruction of the city of Yamit. Since then, and most recently in the last election campaign, he has said that destroying Yamit was a "mistake" that he regrets.