Defense Ministry Says Will Dismantle, Not Destroy, Homes at Settlement of Migron

Officials say permanent structures in illegal outpost will be moved to a storage facility in the West Bank, at a yet to be disclosed cost; evacuation of Ulpana Hill was estimated at NIS 33 million.

Oz Rosenberg
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Oz Rosenberg

The permanent homes in the recently cleared West Bank outpost of Migron won't be torn down, as initially thought, but will be dismantled and reassembled, similarly to the plan regarding the homes in the Ulpana Hill outpost, officials said on Monday.

According to sources in the Defense Ministry, there was no clear estimate as to the possible cost of such a move, adding that the sum would be calculated only after the last of the structures will be vacated on Tuesday, the final day to do so according to the High Court of Justice's ruling on the matter.

More than fifteen logistical crews have been assigned by the Defense Ministry to handle the dismantling project, with each team supervised by a senior ministry official.

Meanwhile, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar sent a letter to government officials, in which he pleads against the demolition or evacuation of Migron's synagogue, instead asking that the structure be sealed off.

Defense Ministry officials said that, upon its arrival, the request was passed on to be studied in the Justice Ministry, and that the final decision on the matter would be made after legal consultations.

Since the beginning of Migron's evacuation last week, more than 50 structures were cleared, the vast majority of which were mobile homes, along with a handful of so-called "permanent structures."

Those are, in effect, prefabricated homes, the evacuation of which requires an engineering effort much more complex than the mobile homes.

Until the last moment prior to the evacuation, the decision was to demolish those permanent structures. However, in recent days Defense Ministry officials have decided to accommodate pleas by Migron residents and their representatives, who said they wished to minimize the destruction as much as possible.

Consequently, officials have indeed decided to dismantle the structures, and later reassemble them at another location. Sources in the Defense Ministry rejected claims that the decision represented a change in policy, saying instead that they had simply reevaluated the situation.

"From the get go, we said that we should transfer or dismantle anything we can," one official said, in order to "avoid demolition as much as possible."

Since the beginning of the week, several of the permanent structures have already been disassembled and transferred to a storage facility in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council which houses all the structures from Migron.

Concerning the decision on Migron's synagogue, a defense official said that the ministry was "leaving the synagogue and the decision what to do with it to the end."

The residents of Ulpana Hill, who were evacuated in June of this year, were moved to a temporary residence on a nearby winery, where caravans will be set up until more permanent structures are completed. The cost of the temporary site was estimated at NIS 33 million, about NIS 730,000 per family.

Mobile homes being transported from the site of Migron in the West Bank, Sept. 5, 2012.Credit: Moti Milrod

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