Israel to Spend NIS 25 Million on Temporary Housing for Migron Settlers

The High Court of Justice ordered the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost last month; temporary housing will cost NIS 25 million, and the government will most likely foot the bill.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

The state is set to spend NIS 25 million to build a temporary housing site for Migron's settlers, who have been ordered to leave the West Bank outpost by August. A team headed by cabinet secretary Zvi Hauser is due to meet Sunday to find a source for the money from the budget.

The High Court of Justice last month ordered the state to evacuate the illegal West Bank outpost and dismantle it by August, after rejecting an agreement between the settlers and state to defer the evacuation by three years.

Workers breaking ground at the Yekev compound in the West Bank for temporary homes for Migron settlers.Credit: Emil Salman

The Mateh Binyamin Regional Council yesterday began construction work on a temporary housing site for the Migron settlers in the Yekev compound, about two kilometers from the outpost. A permanent neighborhood for the evacuated settlers is also planned on that site.

The council, under whose jurisdiction Migron falls, permitted the construction on the basis of an approved plan for a tourist site, which will now be converted to a housing site.

The temporary site will consist of public structures, 50 prefabricated homes and minimal infrastructure, at at estimated cost of NIS 500,000 per family, totaling NIS 25 million, an official said. The state will probably foot the bill, it was learned.

The permanent neighborhood will require more comprehensive construction work and is expected to cost tens of millions of shekels.

Migron's settlers are to pay for building the permanent houses themselves, the official said.

"We decided to establish facts on the ground and, by our power as a regional council, ordered to prepare the area for mobile homes and later permanent ones for Migron's settlers," said council head Avi Roeh.

The settlers themselves have not decided what they should do. Some of them say they must not trust the government any more, and there is no point in reaching understandings with it.

Others say that if the government is willing to build a permanent site for them on the basis of their agreement, and see what may legally be preserved in the old outpost, they should move to the temporary site rather than wait for forcible eviction.

A council official said if the settlers are able to move to the temporary site by August 1, he believes they will leave Migron voluntarily.

Meanwhile, the state told the High Court yesterday it would not demolish three structures being built on private Palestinian land in the Beit El settlement at this time, despite its commitment to do so.

The structures are being built on lands of the Palestinian village Dura al-Kara in the West Bank. Since the High Court ruling on Elon Moreh in 1979, building homes on private Palestinian land has been prohibited.

Following the construction in Beit El, which began some 18 months ago, the landowners petitioned the court to stop the work. The court issued a temporary injunction against the construction.

Last April the state undertook to demolish the structures within a year, unless their status was regulated. The Civil Administration denied the contractor's request for building permits.

Yesterday evening, 48 hours before the allotted time for demolition ends, the State Prosecution told the court that the government needed more time to make a decision.

"The government was apprised of more facts gathered by the Civil Administration regarding the construction in Beit El and its security aspects," prosecuting attorney Hila Gorni said.

She attached to her response a deposition by Col. Ilan Malka, chief operations officer for the Central Command, saying the IDF wants to get through Nakba Day (in May ) and then allocate troops for the demolition.

The petitioners' attorney, Michael Sfard, said: "The state's announcement is no less than scandalous. Two days before the time to carry out its commitment to the court expires, it says it intends to break its word.

"If the breach was for operative reasons, perhaps the petitioners would have agreed to a short delay. But the state's announcement shows the cabinet wants to reopen and reexamine the entire issue."



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