Monday, March 26, 2012

Who are the ‘legal owners’ of the land?

Who are the ‘legal owners’ of the land?

MK Uri Ariel

Several years ago, at election time, the Likud launched an aggressive campaign against then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, blaming him for the violent evacuation of Amona. Today, it seems that history is repeating itself and only the cast has changed. There is one clear culprit in the High Court’s decision to reject the Migron compromise and that is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu was the person who, for many months, gave Minister Without Portfolio Benny Begin (Likud) carte blanche to conduct uncompromising negotiations with Migron residents. He was the one who halted any legislative effort that could have led to a resolution a long time ago, and not at the last minute, days before the High Court’s deadline for evacuation expires. He is the one who, now that he has declared that he will honor the court’s decision, must find a solution to prevent clashes and the shedding of blood, which would be entirely on his hands.

The wonderful residents of Migron, who are anything but violent, did their best to prevent a confrontation, even at the cost of the painful concessions they were forced to make in the compromise agreement they signed. It was none other than recently retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch who called on the sides to engage in dialogue and reach a peaceful compromise, and that is exactly what happened.

It is the hour of reckoning for Netanyahu and Begin and they must prove that the Likud government is not looking for unnecessary conflict with the very constituents who put it in power. Either they bring the compromise agreement before an expanded panel of High Court justices in an effort to reverse the court’s pathetic decision, or they stop blocking the proposed law known as the Migron law, which aims to legalize outposts by offering compensation to the legal owners of the land – provided they can prove ownership – rather than evacuating.

And here’s a question for Peace Now: Who are the legal owners who will benefit from the land after the families are evacuated? Up until this point, every Arab who tried to prove ownership in court was thrown out in disgrace. Maybe such legal owners would have been found if the current residents had been given a three and a half year extension, as the agreed upon compromise stipulated. Just maybe.