Migron Residents Agree to Move to State-built Location by 2015

Deal follows months of negotiations government and residents of Migron, which was built in 2001 on what authorities say is private Palestinian land.

Residents of the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Migron agreed on Sunday to move by November 2015 to a new community, which will be built nearby by the state.

The deal followed months of negotiations between Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin and residents of Migron, which was built in 2001 on what authorities say is private Palestinian land. The Supreme Court had ordered it dismantled by March 31.

Last night locals gathered in the synagogue, where each one signed a document promising to abide by the latest agreement.

The new arrangement must be approved by the Supreme Court - which is due to deliberate on it in the coming weeks - before it takes effect.

The State Prosecutor's Office is expected to submit a request to the court for a stay of execution of the verdict.

In 2003 Israel promised the United States it would dismantle Migron and dozens of other unauthorized outposts, but has not done so.

Settlers say no Palestinian plaintiffs have yet proved land ownership, and claim they have a God-given right to populate the West Bank, part of the biblical Land of Israel.

Begin said the agreement will avoid further clashes with the settlers.

Yariv Oppenheimer, director of Peace Now, slammed the compromise arrangement, calling it "a recipe of how not to comply" with the Supreme Court; he said his organization will oppose the deal in court.

One major sticking point in the negotiations was not resolved in the agreement: After months of talks and numerous draft proposals, settlers insisted that Migron's buildings must remain in place even after its 50 or so families move out. In the end, a clause was drafted that is open to interpretation, saying the state will take a lenient legal approach as to what can or cannot remain on the site in the future.

The settlers wanted the agreement to be more clear cut. This demand apparently reflected the belief that in the years it could take for their permanent homes to be built, new information could emerge or laws could be passed that would allow the old structures to be used.

Pending legislation, sponsored by MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi ), would allow outposts built on Palestinian land to be legalized by compensating the owners with either money or alternative land.

Begin's proposal to move the outpost to Winery Hill, about two kilometers away, was reported by Haaretz in early January. On February 1, the settlers proposed another version of the agreement and sent it to Begin, the state prosecution and attorney Jacob Weinroth, who is representing the settlers.