Land Confiscated by Israel to ‘Legalise’ Israeli Settlement

PNN – Palestine News Network – 08.07.11 – 12:16 Ramallah

PNN – Netanyahu’s government moves to confiscate Palestinian land in the West Bank so as to ‘legalise’ the settlement outpost of Hayovel using an archaic Ottoman law. 

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that last week the Civil Administration, on orders by the government declared 189 dunams of Palestinian land as state land. The land belongs to the Palestinian village of Karyut.
ImageAn 1858 law dating back to the Ottoman Empire stipulates that any uncultivated land can be declared as state land. By declaring such land as state land, the Israeli government believes it can legalise settlement construction on the land. Many Palestinians are unable to cultivate their land due to restrictions on their freedom of movement, land being declared ‘security zones’ and land that is separated by the wall.
The outpost of Hayovel – which is illegal under international law – was constructed in 1998; a 2005 enquiry stated that the outpost was built on private Palestinian land. The land is wanted so as to legalise the construction and expansion of the outpost into a fully-fledged neighbourhood beside the settlement of Eli; therefore creating more ‘facts on the ground’, ever increasing the difficulty of a just and fair peace process.
Because Jordan never registered the West Bank in its land registry between 1948-1967, the Israeli government argues that the West Bank still falls under Ottoman jurisdiction.
This expropriation of land is the first such move for three years and goes against promises the Israeli government has made to the International community and the United States to halt confiscation of Palestinian land. The last three Israeli Prime Ministers had promised to stop this practice, Netanyahu doing so at his Bar-Ilan Speech in 2009, where he made clear he had no intention of constructing new settlements or setting aside land for settlements.
Hareetz reported that the Major of the nearby Israeli settlement of Eli welcomed the step towards legalising the outpost of Hayovel.
International law reiterates that any settlements built on Palestinian land are illegal and should be deconstructed.

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