Relocation of Migron Settlers to Cost Israel at Least NIS 53 Million

Government approves the funding of two temporary housing settlements for the residents of the illegal outpost at a cost of some NIS 1 million per family.

The government will fund two temporary housing solutions for the residents of the illegal outpost of Migron, each of which will cost at least NIS 25 million, the cabinet decided on Sunday.

The unanimous cabinet decision came in the wake of last month's rejection by the High Court of Justice of the state's request that the evacuation of Migron be delayed, and the court's reaffirmation of its order that Migron must be evacuated by August 1, 2012.

Work starting at one of the sites earmarked for Migron evacuees.
Emil Salman

The residents said they would leave for the temporary site in an orderly fashion if and when the state established it for them.

One of the temporary sites, known as the Yekev compound, is about two kilometers from Migron, next door to the permanent site selected for the Migron settlers. The Yekev site had originally been zoned as a tourist site, but GOC Central Command Nitzan Alon is expected to sign an order expediting the rezoning of the site for housing.

According to Sunday's cabinet decision, the cost of the NIS 25 million move will be shared by the Finance Ministry, which will immediately give NIS 4.62 million for the planning of infrastructure in the temporary site and for the placement of temporary dwellings there. If planning is completed by June 17, another NIS 7 million will be paid out for development; NIS 13 million will then be used to purchase prefabricated houses, which will be government property and will be rented to the Migron settlers at market prices.

However, due to several complications involving the Yekev site, the state has prepared a backup plan to settle the Migron evacuees at the settlement of Adam - where they were to have moved four years ago. As part of that plan, the cabinet decided to immediately transfer NIS 28.5 million to the Housing and Construction Ministry to develop infrastructure for residential housing. A government source told Haaretz that even if Adam does not become the temporary site for the Migron evacuees, the NIS 28 million will have gone for infrastructure for housing there. Effectively, this means that two new neighborhoods could go up instead of Migron: one in Adam and the other in the Yekev compound.

The target date for completion of the temporary site is July 15, 2012. Legal experts have said the plan could run aground over the fact that the prefabs are to be purchased without going through a tender, a move that could be challenged in the High Court and could bog down the move to the Yekev compound.

The next stop in planning the temporary housing for the Migron evacuees is the planning council of the Civil Administration, which issues all building permits in the West Bank. The council's chairman, Shlomo Moshkovitz, is known to oppose the Yekev compound plan for Migron. His view was supported on Sunday by the legal adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, Shlomit Barnea-Fargo, who wrote to the ministers on Sunday that despite their decision and despite the fact that planning agencies must take government policy and decisions into account, all relevant planning considerations must still be taken into account when specific plans are presented.

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