AG: confiscation of private Palestinian land legal for some settlement use
Ten months after slamming bill seeking to regulate illegal outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian land, Mandelblit revises position over access road to Harsha being paved, signaling land can be confiscated in certain circumstances for settlements; decision based on ruling by Arab Israeli Justice saying 'Israelis there have rights too.'
Mandelblit gave his revised opinion following a demand from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) during discussions on outpost procedures for the outpost of Harsha, to which a main access road is currently being paved on privately-owned Palestinian land, which is why the outpost has still not been legalized.
The attorney general’s announcement was primarily predicated on a ruling made a few weeks ago by Israeli Arab Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, who stated that private Palestinian land could be confiscated for settlements in certain circumstances, justifying his contention on the fact that “Israelis are also part of the local population.”
“Israelis there have the right to life, dignity, property and all rights afforded to other people in Israel,” Joubran said.
In the majority of previous cases on similar matters, the attorney general demanded a discussion on each individual matter and consistently ruled out the possibility of confiscating privately-owned Palestinian land.
The fundamental departing from his previous stance could therefore have ramifications for illegal outposts in similar legal predicament to the access road to Harsha.
A statement released by the Justice Ministry after the decision praised Mandelblit.
“The justice minister welcomes this decision that constitutes another stage in the implementation of the rights of hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria,” the statement read.
“She will continue to promote a reexamination of previous legal positions on the regulation of construction in Judea and Samaria.”
In February, MKs voted 60-52 in favor of the Regulation Bill seeking to legalize government-backed outposts in the West Bank in the Knesset plenum during its second and third readings.
The final draft of the proposed bill seeks to regulate the status of thousands of homes in settlements located on land privately owned by Palestinians, amounting to around 2,000 homes.
According to the proposal, the state will transfer the rights of the lands’ use to the Commissioner of Government Property in the West Bank while Palestinian landowners will be compensated with a financial package amounting to a sum exceeding the land’s actual worth, or receive alternative plots in accordance with their choice.