Analysis: Israeli law seizing Palestinian property applicable to international standards

Unlike “the racist legislation of the Palestinian Authority which imposes the death penalty in case of sale of land to Jews,” the state said, the law provides the Palestinian landowners with their only option, to receive generous renumeration for their property.



The Settlements Regulation Law which seizes private Palestinian property meets both Israeli and international legal standards, the state said on Monday evening.

It presented a lengthy brief on the legislation to the High Court of Justice. In a rare move the brief was penned by an outside consultant attorney Harel Arnon.

Israel’s High Court of Justice, with Knesset in background, Jerusalem – Photo: ISRAELTOURISM/Wikimedia

Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit has sided with the petition to the HCJ by a consortium of 13 non-governmental groups against the legislation.

“The Government of Israel rejects the petitioners’ attempt to intimidate the government and its officials on the grounds that the [legislation] violates of international law,” the Justice Ministry said in its breif summary of the document.

The legislation retro-actively authorizes some 4,000 illegal settlers homes built on private Palestinian property while financially compensation the Palestinian land owners.

The bill runs counter to four decades of Israeli High Court rulings against the use of private Palestinian property for settler homes.

If the court upholds the legislation which the Knesset approved in February, it would mark the most significant change to the treatment of property in the West Bank in the last 40 years.

The state said that upholding the legislation offered the only fair solution to both settlers and Palestinians.

It clarified in its legal brief that halting the practice of evacuating hundred of Israeli families from their homes is of the highest order from a national, social, political and human interest perspective.

Uprooting settlements and neighborhoods has dramatic implications, the state said. The status of these settlements and neighborhoods has been suspended for years.

Entrance to Israel’s High Court of Justice in Jerusalem – Photo: IsraelandStuff:PP

“The Israeli government has a primary obligation towards law-abiding citizens who have been forced to live in uncertainty after relying in good faith on governmental actions,” the state said.

Passage of the legislation provides the only option to legalize the homes, the state said.

The law provides the Palestinian landowners with their only option to receive generous renumeration for the use of the property, the state said.

“This is due to the racist legislation of the Palestinian Authority which imposes the death penalty in case of sale of land to Jews,” the state said.

Further, the law is said to apply only to those units, even if formally unauthorized, which the state in some way supported informally.

The NGO’s Yesh Din and Peace Now said in response that the state had stood behind legislation that “continued governmental support for a criminal enterprise” as if it was the resolution of a national problem.

It has minimized the ongoing infringement of Palestinian rights while at the same time painting the settlers as the victims, the NGOs said.

The NGOs added that the law violates international humanitarian law, the laws of occupation and international treaties signed by Israel to protect the Palestinians in territory under their rule including by prohibiting the confiscation of property.

They urged the HCJ to reject the unconstitutional and immoral law.


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