Law to Legalize Migron Considered Unlikely

Right-wing MKs begin preparing the ground for legislation to legalize Migron and other West Bank settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land.

The coalition has little chance of passing a law that would legalize the Migron outpost before its August 1 evacuation deadline, right-wing Knesset members said on Monday.

"I don't believe the High Court of Justice would accept such a law and apply it to Migron," one MK said. "It is doubtful the court would accept a law intended to bypass its explicit ruling. If enacted, I believe the law would only be applicable to settlements that have not been discussed in court."

The Knesset goes on spring recess next week, returning in early May. That leaves only three months to pass any law that would prevent or postpone the evacuation of Migron.

Right-wing MKs on Monday began preparing the ground to jump-start legislation to legalize Migron and other West Bank settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land, after the High Court on Sunday rejected a compromise between the state and Migron residents.

A bill submitted to the Knesset recently states that a Jewish residential neighborhood built on land whose legal owners did not contest the construction within four years would not be evacuated. Instead, the courts are to determination compensation to the owners, either monetary or in nearby land of equal value.

The preamble to the bill, which is sponsored by MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi ), coalition whip MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud ) and other 18 MKs, stipulates that it will only apply to communities with at least 20 families.

The cabinet had withdrawn its support for the draft law so that Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin could reach an agreement over Migron with its inhabitants. The four cabinet ministers of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's Atzmaut party have said they would oppose the bill.

The draft law's sponsors said they would insist on an open vote in the Knesset in order to discourage right-wing MKs and cabinet members from voting against it and antagonizing right-wing constituents.

Elkin said he would not impose coalition discipline for the vote.

"Without the cabinet's support the opposition will be able to thwart the vote in the plenum," a senior coalition source said.

Members of the extreme-right group within Likud, headed by Moshe Feiglin, have threatened to withdraw their support in the party primary for MKs and ministers who vote against the bill.