Settlers Reject Israel Deal to Regulate Evacuation of West Bank Outpost

Representatives to talks with Israel government deflect proposed deal to move to state-owned land after consulting with rabbis; Minister Begin: Residents have mere hours to decide on deal.

Negotiations between the Israeli government and settler representatives geared at securing a deal concerning the evacuation of the Migron outpost in the West Bank, Haaretz learned on Monday, after Migron residents rejected a government deal.

The sides were reportedly close to an agreement after the government allegedly proposed moving the outpost to a nearby plot owned by the state, with officials indicating that it would mull whether or not is was possible to keep the outposts' original houses standing.

Pierre Terdjman / BauBau

However, counter to reports of a possible deal, the gap between the sides remained significant, specifically concerning the number of structures that would escape demolition.

In addition, the state reportedly put forth a new demand to evacuate the outpost in two years and a half, even if the permanent structures built to house those evacuated won't be finished.

On Monday, however, it was revealed that settler representatives, after consulting national-Zionist rabbis, decided to reject to the forming deal on Migron, which a Supreme Court ruling states must be evacuated by March 31.

In a press conference later Monday, Begin responded to reports of a negotiations failure over Migron's future, adding that the residents of the West Bank outpost had "a few hours to accept the deal."

According to Begin, he reached an agreement with the residents' representatives, attorney Yaakov Weinrot, according to which the state would ask the High Court of Justice to postpone the evacuation until 2015, during which a permanent abode would be built elsewhere.

The Israeli minister added that, despite reports of the deal's rejection, he had not received any official word on a decision concerning the agreement, adding that he was operating with full backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Earlier this month, the government rejected claims by Migron residents that they had reached an agreement with the state allowing them to stay put for two more years, despite Supreme Court orders to evacuate them next month. "There is no agreement in Migron," Begin, told Likud MKs at the time.

Avi Roeh, who heads the Mateh Binyamin local council, sent Begin a letter on the settlers' behalf Sunday night in which he outlined the details of the purported agreement.

The letter said the Migron residents would stay put until a new neighborhood near Migron was built for them on state land, within two and a half years. It also said the state would examine the possibility of leaving a civilian or military presence in Migron and that any demolition of the existing buildings would be postponed pending a district court decision on Migron residents' suit claiming they own the land on which the outpost is built.

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