Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
UN Fact-Finding Mission About Illegal Israeli
Just Another Distraction from the Occupation
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, March 26, 2012
Country Crazy: The Palestinian Houdini
What is this? A UN fact-finding mission to inquire into the settlements
on the West Bank? What, bother us again with settlements and occupation?
Don't they know at the UN that we had long since left this issue behind us?
– The social protest drew attention away from the occupation.
–The war against Iran, which will or will not take place, anyway distracted
attention away from the social protest.
–The exchange of fire around
on the Gaza border diverted attention away from the war against Iran.
–The war against Iran came back and again took the focus and made us
forget the Gaza exchange of fire.
–The Toulouse killing spree
diverting attention from the war against Iran and the Gaza exchange of fire
and the social protest.
–And now, after all this, we go again to deal
with the occupation and the settlements? The cabinet ministers of the
Government of Israel are bothered and must neglect the really important
things and enter once again into debates on this banal and well-chewed
issue! Can't you find something new, something original, to put on the
And besides, just last week the veteran and experienced
commentator Ben Kaspit wrote in his weekly column in Ma'ariv newspaper:
"Netanyahu deserves credit for what he did the last two years, when he
managed to kill the Palestinian issue and place instead the issue of Iran at
the top of the global agenda. This is an important, significant and
Can it be that such a clear, incisive
statement would be disproven within less than a week? Could it be that Ben
Kaspit and the other well-informed commentators have been all wrong?
Netanyahu made confirmed kill of the Palestinian issue - and now this
stubborn issue suddenly opens the coffin lid and rises out of the grave, in
front of our boggling eyes? What is this, a new Houdini? Really, can anyone
explain what's going on here?
The history of Migron or: what is there
In 2002, Israeli settlers in the area east of
Ramallah complained of not having good reception on their cell phone. The
phone company understood their plight and established for their benefit an
antenna on a hill overlooking the Route 60, which is the main highway
connecting the northern West Bank with the south.
The antenna was
established on land owned by Palestinians from the nearby villages of Burqa
and Deir Dibwan. Unlike in many other places in the West Bank, here the
Israeli authorities do not dispute the land being privately owned by
Palestinians - but the company did not bother to ask the landowners'
permission to build the antenna. And then, a trailer was brought in, where a
guard was placed to keep an eye on the antenna - a young settler from a
nearby settlement. Then another trailer arrived, with another guard. Then
the guards felt lonely there on the hill and brought their wives and their
children to live with them and participate in the guarding work. And then,
more and more guards arrived - 45 in all, each of them living in a trailer
of his own and sharing the guarding duty with his own wife and children. In
order to have place for all the trailers of all those guards and their
families, the Ministry of Housing of the State of Israel took care to plough
up and flatten the hilltop area and pave several access roads and connect
all trailers to electricity and water.
Then all the guards banded up
to erect a perimeter fence, enclosing a considerable parcel of land in a
wide circle on all sides of the antenna, so as to better guard it. The
enclosed area was entirely in privately owned land of Palestinian residents,
duly recorded in the land registry office and recognized by the State of
Israel. When the landowners arrived, ownership deeds in hand, and tried to
enter their land, they were warned by the antenna guards (and by the
soldiers stationed there to guard the antenna guards) that anybody entering
the closed military zone around the antenna would be liable to be detained
After about a year the Antenna Guards stopped calling
themselves that, and formally announced that they have established a
settlement outpost called Migron. The name Migron comes from the Bible,
which recounts that at a place called so King Saul had conducted a heroic
battle a bit more than three thousand years ago, and historians believe it
was somewhere in the general vicinity of the hill with the antenna. And so,
there was no more talking of guarding and preserving a cell phone antenna.
Rather, residents of the sixty trailers regarded themselves as engaged in a
far more important and sublime guarding mission, i.e. to maintain and
sustain an ancient Jewish tradition, three thousand years old, and be worthy
heirs to King Saul.
In 2003, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
solemnly promised to U.S. President George W. Bush that he would dismantle
all settlement outposts established after 2001. Migron was definitely on
that list, along with several dozen other outposts throughout the
territories. But there had already been a previous Israeli Prime Minister
who said "I promised, but I did not promise to keep my promise." President
Bush did not really press the issue, and the outpost of Migron remained
intact and continued to expand, and in the nearby village residents were
left with ownership deeds in hand.
And in 2006 the landowners,
together with the Israeli Peace Now movement, appealed to the Supreme Court
of Israel. And the wheels of justice went grinding very slowly and
leisurely, and the judges were in no hurry to render a verdict. The State's
representatives clarified to the court that there was no dispute about the
trailers structures having been erected illegally, on land which did not
belong to those now living in them and without the legal owners' consent.
Therefore, the state duly issued demolition orders for these illegal
After a year the State told the court that the
demolition orders had not yet been carried out, as the military authorities
faced manpower shortages and decided to give precedence to other locations.
And when the judges inquired, after the passage of another year, it turned
out that the manpower problem had not yet been resolved. Meanwhile, the
government approached the Migron residents and offered to build them
beautiful houses in another settlement if they consent to move there. But
they rejected the offer out of hand and said that they would never abandon
the legacy of King Saul and the location where the King fought and defeated
his ancient enemies 3000 years ago.
In 2011 the Supreme Court judges
have had enough and they issued a definite ruling, ordering the state to
evacuate the Migron outpost no later than March 30, 2012. And the Migron
settlers cried out bitterly that the state was about to destroy a prosperous
and vibrant community and uproot children from their childhood homes, and
that the Jewish people was about to lose their foothold on the patrimony of
King Saul, Father of the Nation. And also, the settlers asserted that the
Arabs living in Burqa and Deir Dibwan - who are the owners of the land -
that the ownership deeds in their possession were not valid and that the
land had been granted in the 1960's by King Hussein of Jordan to his local
favorites and that this royal favoritism should be annulled and disregarded.
And around the famous antenna the settlers banners reading "In Migron
the war will start", and they enlisted the help of many Knesset Members who
support the Netanyahu Government as well as several of his cabinet
ministers. And all these threatened in earnest to undermine the stability of
the government if, God forbid, the outpost is destroyed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu charged Minister Benny Begin with
mediating between the government and the Migron settlers, and Begin duly
came up with a 'compromise' proposal. By the terms of this compromise, there
shall be established a brand new settlement kilometers away, and its
construction would last until November 2015, and until then the Migron
settlers would remain at their present location, and when they move to their
new homes the land would not be returned to the Palestinian owners but would
remain in possession of the army, and the trailers would remain in place and
some form of civil use would be made of them (Perhaps to house a new
generation of antenna guards...)
At first the Migron settlers
bitterly rejected out of hand this humiliating compromise, and reiterated
that by no means would they leave the patrimony of King Saul. But when the
target date drew near they announced that with an aching heart they do agree
to the painful compromise, so as to avert a violent conflict. Two days ago,
on Thursday March 22, a representatives of the State and the settlers
arrived together at the Supreme Court and asked the judges to accept and
formally approve this compromise, in the cause of peace and of bringing
people closer together.
By coincidence, that was the very same day
that the United Nations Human Rights Council convened in Geneva and resolved
to appoint a fact finding mission to look into the process of settlement
construction by Israel and its impact on the lives of Palestinians in the
In fact, the United Nations could save its time
and resources. All that UN personnel need to do is read the story of the
Migron outpost, available online for all to read.