Rivlin: If government fails to legalize Migron, Knesset will

A couple strolls by homes demolished in the illegal outpost of Migron. (Flash 90)

JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)–If the government does not act soon to legalize Migron, the Knesset will do so, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin declared while on a visit to the illegal West Bank outpost on Thursday.

The High Court of Justice has ordered the homes to be demolished by the end of March, because they were built on privately owned Palestinian land. Rivlin said the government should find a solution to let the settlers keep their homes by reimbursing the landowners and legalizing the outpost.

“The residents here are not thieves and are not trying to banish people from their land. They came here innocently, with the encouragement of the State of Israel,” Rivlin said.

He told the settlers that the government should find a legal way to change the land’s status, either through legislation or a cabinet decision. “If the government doesn’t do this, the Knesset will,” he added.

The Habayit Hayehudi party threatened on Wednesday to leave the government coalition, after Netanyahu announced that he was freezing the Ministerial Committee on Legislation’s vote on a bill to legalize certain outposts by MKs Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) and Ya’acov Katz (National Union).

If Migron is demolished, Habayit Hayehudi plans to immediately leave to coalition, the Makor Rishon newspaper reported Wednesday night.

In November 2011, the High Court agreed to the state’s request to delay the dismantling of illegal buildings on private Palestinian land in Givat Assaf until July 2012, in order to give the state time to reach agreement with the outpost’s residents.

Last week the court also agreed to another three month delay to demolish homes built on private Palestinian land in Ramat Gilad, after the state again said that state officials were working towards a “peaceful resolution” with the outpost’s residents. The state has been negotiating with settlers with the help of Minister-without-Portfolio Bennie Begin.

On December 15 security forces demolished homes built illegally on private Palestinian land in Mitzpe Yitzhar.

Peace Now published 2011 data showing that there have been 100 illegal housing starts and 71 new caravans set up in new settlements. The organization charged that the state is seeking to authorize 11 outposts.