April 2012: Battle of Migron
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The Unbearable Slowness of War (II)
Most battles begin without previous announcement. Either that or the warning is of mere hours. Seldom are battles announced with days of anticipation. Yet, at the beginning of January 2012 we know that until April 2012 the Battle of Migron will take place.
It will be a battle between Jewish factions, as the ones we saw in 2011 in Berkeley, though no doubt much more violent. Its epicenter would be occupied Palestinian lands north of Jerusalem. It may be restricted to Jewish courts in Jerusalem, or deteriorate into wild violence at the top of an odd hill nowadays called Migron. It is still unclear who will win, but in the short term the Palestinians will lose.
Migron is one of those places that their foundation is almost mythical; everything is covered up in a deep layer of heavy shadows. There is a good reason for that; this is the largest illegitimate Israeli settlement in the West Bank. I do not mean “illegitimate” in the eyes of the international community. In the latter category there are much larger violators. I mean under the Israeli law. Migron is illegitimate even according to the State of Israel. As such, it is treated by its settlers and the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council almost as a state secret.
The regional council claims Migron was founded in 1999, abandoned, and then re-founded in 2001. However, the Israeli administration 2005 Sasson Report claims Migron was founded in 2002, a few days before the beginning of Operation Defensive Shield. If ignoring these discrepancies, everybody agrees on how this settlement evolved.
A request for a cellular radio tower on the hill top was filed. The IDF granted it in spite of the land being owned by Palestinians. Later, five caravans were placed next to the radio tower. They had no authorization for that; yet, the IDF didn’t evacuate them. The money for the tower and the caravans, four million shekels, came from Israel’s Housing Ministry. There was neither statutory planning nor government decision on Migron. There could be neither of them, because it was private land which hadn’t been confiscated. The government couldn’t acknowledge in front of its institutions that it was creating an illegal settlement; thus it acted independently without bothering with formalities. In other words, it was an Israeli government theft even under its own laws.
Annexing East Jerusalem
Recently, I commented on the efforts of Israel to annex East Jerusalem in New Road Annexes East Jerusalem to Israel, Israel Camouflages Jerusalem and Diskotel. Part of these efforts includes the creation of a northern corridor connecting Jerusalem with Tel Aviv. This is known as Route 443, which links north Jerusalem and the West Bank settlements with the city of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut and Tel Aviv. The route can be seen clearly marked in the odd map I added to this article. The map was published by people from the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council (the name means “Benjamin’s Headquarters,” the regional council was named after the Biblical tribe that occupied the area). The map downplays Palestinian cities and towns to the extent that the very prominent city of Ramallah is not even mentioned.
Other efforts of the Israeli administration to annex Eastern Jerusalem are related to Highway 60, which connects Jerusalem with the northern part of the West Bank. The northern outskirts of what Israel calls Greater Jerusalem, are in fact part of Eastern Jerusalem. Here is where Migron begins to make sense.
Ironically, Migron was named after the village of the same name mentioned in Isaiah 10:28 as a village somewhere on the route between Ai and Mikhmash. It was along a way used by the Assyrian army. Modern Migron is along the way used by the Israeli army to advance into Palestinian territories in daily violations. The army would like to see outposts along its main routes, so that defending the latter would be easier.
Migron is located 14 kilometers north of Jerusalem in the northern West Bank, 7.7 km east of the Green line, outside of the Separation Barrier. It occupies a dominant hilltop over Highway 60. This is Migron’s raison d’ętre. This is why the Israeli government generously funded a clearly illegal enterprise.
The Battle of Migron
In the beginning of 2012, about fifty Jewish families live in Migron. Next to the original antenna, sixty caravans have been placed. The settlers enjoy excellent cellular phones connectivity, cold winds during the winter, and the opportunity to participate in what may become a major battle of Israel’s war for the West Bank.
They enjoy all that, but they do not enjoy peace. They are sitting on well documented Palestinian land. Most of the land occupied by Migron belongs to several Palestinian families living in the nearby villages of Burqa and Deir Dibwan. Associated Press discovered in 2008, that Abd Allatif Hassan Sumarin, who supposedly sold a plot of land to Binyamin Regional Council owned Al Wattan Ltd in 2004, had been dead since 1961. The plot thickens.
Legal battles were to be expected. That’s why Ariel Sharon announced the dismantling of Migron in 2003. He announced, but did nothing. He was playing delay games. On 23 January 2008, the Israeli government informed the court that “The Prime Minister and Defense Minister have decided that the outpost Migron, which was constructed on Private Palestinian land, will be evacuated within six months, that is until the beginning of August 2008”. Nothing happened.
On August 2, 2011, in response to a petition filed by Palestinians and Peace Now, Israel's Supreme Court issued a ruling ordering the state to dismantle the outpost by April 2012. Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch wrote: “There is no doubt that according to the law a settlement cannot be built on land privately owned by Palestinians.” It was the first time the Israeli Supreme Court had ordered the state to dismantle a West Bank settlement.
An indefatigable conspirator, Benjamin Netanyahu is working hard to destroy the rule of law. Yesterday, he announced another delay to his Machiavellian response to the Supreme Court. The Hebrew press already calls it the “Migron Law.” Instead of legislating it now, the process would be delayed until the last moment allowed by the court decision for the evacuation of Migron.
The proposed law would only allow a military commander to order a settler off the land if there is a final court order based on evidence issued by a court authorized to deal with land issues.
Migron being in the West Bank, it is administered by the Civil Administration of the IDF. That means that if the new law is approved, no military commander would be allowed to dismantle Migron without a proper court order. It is already clear from the restrictions and the clumsy language of the proposed law, that such a process would be lengthy and probably involve several lawsuits at different courts. This April, Netanyahu would probably tell the Supreme Court that he tried very hard to dismantle Migron, but wasn’t allowed to do so by the new “Migron Law.” Pure evil.
In other words, the Israeli government would probably again ignore its laws and courts, and refuse to dismantle Migron. Instead, it would begin a new legal battle based on technicalities. The physical Battle of Migron, would wait for a sunnier day.
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