Defense Minister Ehud Barak has agreed to approve the establishment of a new settlement in the Binyamin region in return for settlers' agreement to evacuate the illegal outpost of Migron. The Migron settlers will move into the new 250-house settlement after leaving the illegal one they built on private Palestinian land.
The new site is a kilometer away from the built-up section of the Adam settlement, located east of the separation fence. The establishment of the new community violates the conditions of the Road Map, as well as Ariel Sharon's commitments to President George W. Bush in 2003.
I guess that if everything goes off without a hitch, yes, this is marginally better than the status quo -- an isolated settlement replaced by one near a major bloc (consolidation is good), and a settlement built illegally on Palestinian land replaced by a settlement built "legally" on (hopefully) open territory.
But seriously, come on. When it comes to settlements, the Israeli government does not need one for one swaps. It needs to start paring down. Drastically. The Migron settlement was already scheduled to be evacuated back in August of 2008. Now, not only is it being replaced by a shiny new settlement, but the evacuation date has been pushed back for two to three years. And, as Peace Now representatives noted, experience tells us that when two or three years rolls around, there will be another reason to keep the Migron settlement up anyway, and in fact what we'll see is a net increase in settlement presence.