Jewish Right To Israel

Jewish Right To Israel
Jewish Right To Palestine (click on image)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Why The Israeli Settlement Of Migron Is Legal And Should Not Be Demolished

In a January article, Arlene Kushner gave some background on the planned demolishment of the Migron settlement:
Migron is a community established in 1999, on a hill northeast of Jerusalem -- between the communities of Ofra and Geva Binyamin. Today, with over 250 residents, it is the largest of the so-called "illegal outposts."

The Ministry of Construction and Housing invested 4.3 million shekels in laying infrastructure for Migron through the Mate Binyamin Regional Council. As Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recently said:
Migron is not an illegal outpost. It's a community where then-Defense Minister Moshe Arens and the [army's] GOC Central Command stood beside the cornerstone at its founding.
But, in 2005, a very dubious "Sasson report" made the claim that it was established on Palestinian land.


And so, in 2006, Peace Now (yes, this group again) went to Court and claimed that Migron had to come down. There was no Palestinian Arab "owner" with documentation. Those Arabs who declared themselves to be the owners lacked papers and ultimately withdrew their claims.

In August of last year, the High Court said the community must be taken down by March 2012. In September, three houses were taken down by the army in the middle of the night, on orders of Defense Minister Barak. Taken down even as a compromise that might have saved those houses was being worked out.
Here is an excerpt from a PDF created by members of Migron, putting forward their side of the story:

MIGRON
  • Established on 24 Iyar, 5759 / 1999
  • 47 Families, 3 Singles, over 200 Children
  • Kindergartens, Daycare Center, Synagogue, Mikveh, Petting Zoo, Horseback Riding Therapy Clinic, Playgrounds, Youth Group Building, Menifah High School equivalency program for students that left mainstream education
In the summer of 2011, the Supreme Court declared that Migron must be destroyed by March 2012.

The Supreme Court declaration was passed following a petition made by “Peace Now” in 2006 against the Defense Minister, claiming that the community is located on privately-owned, Palestinian land.

The plaintiffs in the case have not been able to prove their ownership of the land to the satisfaction of any court in Israel.

The State Attorney and the Defense Minister acquiesced to the petition, against the precedent of the State up until then, that established and developed the community.

Despite the decision of the Supreme Court, our moral, historical and legal rights to the land on which Migron sits is absolute.

It is within the reach and responsibility of the government of Israel to legalize the status of the community through legal measures.

The complaints of “Peace Now” are refuted in this booklet.


WHY ARE WE HERE?

Over 100 years ago, the Jewish Nation began to awaken from the darkness of the Diaspora and come back to the historical Land of its Fathers. The goals and intentions were to renew life as it was thousands of years ago. Zionism gave this dream a breath of life and the Nation returned and waved the banners of resettling the land, securing its borders and physical labor.

During the thousands of years when the Jewish nation was exiled from its land, other nations occupied the deserted countryside, but the natural and historical rights of the Jewish nation promised by G-d always remained relevant.

The Partition Plan that preceded the establishment of the State tore the Land of Israel into two and stole Jerusalem from us. Still, our hearts didn’t stop hoping and praying to liberate the city, and to return her to the days of her glory, when our forefathers trod there, our Judges judged there, our prophets prophesized there and our warriors fought for this Holy City over hundreds and thousands of years.

During the Six Day War we merited to liberate Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Desert.

We came home - As sons returning to their borders.

And just as they did, we began to make the deserts bloom once again, those same mountains that had remained barren in the absence of the Jews. We built large and small communities, neighborhoods and outposts. And the Land, in response to this building, has bloomed and given fruit.

The establishment of Migron is an inseparable part of the Zionist dream of reviving the Nation. We have seen that redeeming the Land has brought peace and security. The settlements of Judea and Samaria, including Migron, along with all areas throughout the State of Israel, continue the endeavor of historical justice for the Jewish People. We were exiled from these mountains thousands of years ago, and with G-d's help are now returning home to the Land of our Fathers.

The Privately-Owned Land Lie?

The land on which Migron was built twelve years ago had always been unoccupied, unfarmed land. Aerial photos taken over the years prove this. 
There are numerous registered legal documents of the State of Israel in which it is expressly written that the land discussed here is land left to be managed by the Authority for Abandoned Property. 
Through all the years in which Migron has bloomed, no Arab has ever presented a complaint about stolen land. Only the people of “Peace Now”, who are looking for any way to harass and destroy the settlement enterprise, succeeded in finding lists based on the perfunctory land distribution of the King of Jordan and different muchtars from his clan from the 1960s – names of those listed as owners of land parcels. Still, when the people of Migron met with these same people in order to purchase the land from them, these Arabs were entirely surprised. They had never seen themselves as owners of the land and certainly not as having been robbed. They acted as if they were receiving a gift.

Even the State of Israel wasn’t satisfied with these listings. They demanded absolute proof of ownership. In response to a damages suit submitted by “Peace Now” and the Arabs claiming ownership of part of the land of Migron in the Magistrates Court, the State claimed that “The Complainants do not have any rights to the land…”

Aerial Photographs over the years prove that the land was and has always been left fallow. Migron – circled in blue (1999)


It isn’t a coincidence that the founders of Migron chose this spot. They specifically chose to avoid parcels that have been farmed or developed and provide a livelihood for their owners. As such the only developed parcel in the area was left outside the boundaries of Migron.

BUT WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?

The State of Israel adopted the Jordanian land laws, but also according to these laws, registration of the land of Migron as private is fraudulent. The condition of land registration as private according to the Jordanian law is to work the land continuously over at least ten years. Moreover, despite such registration if the registered land-owner does not work his land and hasn’t paid taxes on it over three years – his right to the land is invalidated and it reverts to a classification of governmental control.

In the past, the State has made use of these clauses and today the choice to ignore them is not coincidental. Whoever thinks that we invaded a land that is not ours and that we are temporary residents here, will selectively embrace any law that will lead to our expulsion.

However, based on the belief that our rights to the land are inalienable despite foreign conquerors, one should be fully aware of the multiple legal options possible in reolving the issue of Migron.

Are Judea and Samaria conquered areas through temporary military occupation/seizure as they are classified in the Supreme Court and “Peace Now” or are we speaking about our Fathers’ inheritance? According to the perspective of the Supreme Court of the State of Israel in recent years, it would seem that our presence here follows the trend that we saw applied to the Gush Katif Bloc: should the settlers have known that they are in that place temporarily?

Is this the worldview of the majority of Israeli society? The surveys prove that it very much is not: The majority of the Jewish Nation sees Judea and Samaria as its historical Land.

WHAT'S THE SUPREME COURT GOT TO DO WITH IT?

The suit filed by “Peace Now” concerning Migron, similar to the suits against the houses in Ofrah, is based on the claim that the people of Migron are sitting on private land. If indeed we are talking about a disagreement over land here, why did they turn to the Supreme Court and not to the police or to the Magistrates Court as it is within their authority to judge on incursions into private land? Was this done innocently?

To the residents of Migron, there is no doubt that if this dispute were to be played out in a regular court, the truth would emerge. And if it were clarified that the land does belong to someone – the settlement movement would be willing to compensate the owners of the land. Even though there is a moral right, we would go above the letter of the law and actually have purchased land parcels of Migron in the last few years.

Bypassing the standard legal procedure and jumping to the Supreme Court, which isn’t
interested in the details and only analyzes from the viewpoint that this issue is based on the assumption that we are intruders and not children returning home, is a judicial injustice toward the settlement enterprise and moral travesty against the Jewish Nation.

WHY IS MIGRON SPECIFICALLY HERE?

The location of Migron isn’t accidental. This is a hilltop that overlooks the main road in Binyamin, Route 60. Being located here discourages terror attacks, without a doubt. It has strategic importance both from a security and from a settlement viewpoint. High-ranking officers in the army have stated in the past that if Migron is evacuated they will put an army outpost here.

Also, governments of Israel in the past found it obvious and clear that Migron's presence was essential.

Even back in 1999, the Settlement Division submitted a plan for the establishment of a district emergency center. Ever since then, various government offices have assisted in the planning, financing and development of this place. In the master plan, 500 housing units were planned through the initiative of the Ministry of Housing. And this is called an illegal outpost?

Ariel Sharon classified Migron as a “Strategic Outpost” that would not be evacuated in any scenario.

Also in this action of the government offices, the settlement enterprise in reality put the cart before the horse on finishing the bureaucratic processes. This is actually the way these things have always been handled throughout Israel . After the initial planning, the actual building is carried out and the official and final permit only comes years afterwards. The classification of Migron as “illegal” is a focus of special-interests political groups.

THE SUPREME COURT’S METHOD TO DESTRUCTION

As of today, in Binyamin alone there are more than 30 suits filed in the Supreme Court against houses and neighborhoods. This method, cloaked in legal language, constitutes an additional stage in the campaign to destroy the settlements, avoiding standard judicial procedures. Clearly the Supreme Court case is meant to invalidate our inherited rights to the Land of our Fathers.

The struggle for Migron is much more than a local struggle. It is a struggle representing the entire settlement enterprise, and the validity of our worldview that claims that we are children returning home. We must not stand by silently acquiescent while the extremist minority forces its post-Zionist stance upon the entire state using the Supreme Court as its tool.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Since the decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, which determined that the State must evacuate Migron, several hundred more families and buildings have been added to the destruction lists, using the method of “Peace Now – In the Supreme Court”.

We would like to clarify once and for all: Migron is here forever. We demand that the government of Israel work toward the decision of the voters, to settle the entire Land of Israel and not to destroy communities. The plan to move the community to another location is also destruction and expulsion, only in laundered words. We will not be a partner to this.

One can find a number of legal solutions to the issue of Migron. One possible solution would be to resolve the status of Migron using the License of Use of Abandoned Property – as is defined by law. For the parcels in which there is still a doubt, if they even have private owners, the status of the land must be legally clarified in a district court.

After a proper court case, investigating, in depth, all of the details, if owners are found, they must be monetarily compensated, as is done in many other cases initiated by the State and as is done through Jordanian statutes as well.

We call upon the Government of Israel – Take up the reigns of honest government. Rule according to the will of the people. Is it appropriate for the State of Israel to capitulate to the post-Zionist worldview that opposes the will of the Nation?

Because Migron is the Land of Israel!
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