Migron is a Jewish community in the Benjamin region of Judea and Samaria. It was established in 1999 and named for a Biblical city that was located in the same vicinity. The town is about ten minutes north of Jerusalem and just off of road #60, which is the main arterial over the mountain ridge of Samaria and Judea, connecting Shechem to Hebron and passing by Shiloh, Beit El, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Efrat.
Migron was established in much the same way as many Jewish communities throughout Israel. Lands that are not owned by individuals are considered “state lands,” and are administered by the government. Over the past hundred years, the governments of four different countries have claimed administration of these lands – the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Great Britain, Jordan and Israel. All of these countries have zoned the lands for building and farming.
Migron has become famous over the past months, as a target of those that are opposed to the growth and development of Jewish life in Israel’s heartland – Judea and Samaria. Peace Now is an extreme left-wing l NGO funded by foreign sources. Its agenda is specifically to undermine Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria by pressuring our government through any and all means, including cooperating with foreign governments, provoking local Arabs to riot, and staging complaints and legal motions.
In the case of Migron, Peace Now prompted an Arab resident from a nearby village to claim the property rights to some of the land on which Migron was established. In 2006, Peace Now appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court in the name of an Arab who claimed that his grandfather had received property on this hill as a gift from the Hashemite King of Jordan. As a result of this motion, three homes of Jewish residents were demolished in Migron, and the court determined that the community would need to be relocated. In 2008, the same Arab again appealed to the court, this time seeking compensation from the state for allowing the Jewish community to exist on land he claimed as his. This motion backfired – in a way. The plaintiff failed to prove his ownership of the land for which he wished to be compensated. This put the whole process into question.
Over the past months, MK Benny Begin, a Minister in Israel’s government, has worked on devising an agreement for the relocation of the community of Migron to a site nearby, on which no private ownership claims exist. This plan would, on one hand, effectively demolish an existing community and turn the land barren again. But on the other hand, it would also facilitate the founding of a permanent and fully authorized location nearby. The settlement leadership has been torn by this concept, as we believe that our mission is to build the mountains of Israel and fill them with Jewish population. To agree to demolish a home, once built, would be contrary to our ideology. But the prospect of receiving full authorization for the community not far away is also a great enticement.
To our credit, those mentioned above who work tirelessly to undermine our hold on the land are less content with their gain than we are distressed with our loss. Recently, the court refused to accept the deal and annulled the Benny Begin agreement. In my opinion, this is a blessing that will lead to a better outcome for this community and for the future of other such communities in Judea and Samaria. Historically, the settlement movement in Judea and Samaria has always come out stronger when obstacles are put in its way. A similar legal battle in 1979, aimed at stopping the establishment of Elon Moreh, also backfired on those who initiated it – and actually provided the legal basis for what has become the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.