Migron families will have to move, eventually
Migron families will have to move, eventuallyIsrael News Photo: (file)

Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the High Court of Justice on Monday to delay the relocation of families in the Samarian community of Migron for a four-month period, explaining there is still much to be done before the transfer can take place.

The small Samarian community has agreed to relocate to a spot approximately three miles northeast of Jerusalem, within the municipal boundaries of the community of Adam, representatives of the State Prosecutor's Office said in court.

However, by all accounts, the move realistically could not expected to take place for months, despite the agreement negotiated between the Yesha Council and the Defense Ministry. The Yesha Council had reportedly said it would be willing to immediately relocate the families, but there simply is nowhere for them to go, because the new neighborhood is not yet built.

Migron, home to approximately 45 Jewish families, overlooks strategic Highway 60 between Adam and Ofra to the north, but has been on the U.S.-Israel-PA chopping block for months.

Attorneys for the Defense Ministry said they would update the court on the progress of the move, and would file a report on the process by March 2009.

There are a number of steps to be accomplished before the community can be relocated, and it is clear that the government is not interested in repeating the mistakes made in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza, which has left thousands of families without permanent homes to this day.

Among the tasks yet to be accomplished before the families can be moved, explained attorneys for the state, are:

• Setting up and signing the various contracts needed for establishing the new neighborhood itself, and the infrastructure needed for the homes

• Securing the approval of the various levels of the political establishment and ensuring that the plans for the neighborhood are consistent with diplomatic protocols

• Forming a steering committee to supervise the process, to be comprised of representatives from the Defense Ministry, the Construction and Housing Ministry and the Civil Administration

The delay puts off the relocation until after the winter -- and after the general elections, scheduled for February 10. Barak's Labor party, which is scheduled to hold its primary elections on December 2, is not expected to win as many Knesset seats as in previous years, making it likely it will have less influence in the next coalition government.