Tomorrow (6 June 2012), two proposed bills are scheduled to be brought before the Knesset plenum for a preliminary reading, whose purpose is to authorize outposts built on private Palestinian land: the proposed Law for the Protection of Holders of Land in Judea and Samaria, 5772-2011 and the proposed Law for the Protection of the Rights of Founders of Structures in Judea and Samaria, 5772-2011. These bills are another step in a series of proposals that have been presented in the Knesset in recent months, in various versions, with a single goal: to grant retroactive legitimization to unauthorized construction on private land in the West Bank, while confiscating this land from its lawful Palestinian owners.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) claims that these proposed bills mark a step up in trampling the individual rights of Palestinians and in the contempt for the rule of law in the Occupied Territories, while blatantly disregarding High Court rulings.
In addition, the proposed bills also constitute a step up in the institutionalization of the discriminatory regime maintained by Israel in the Occupied Territories, which favors Israeli settlements and their residents and leads to a severe injury to the individual and collective rights of the Palestinians living under the occupation.
In a position paper sent by ACRI ahead of the Knesset vote to the Prime Minister, government ministers, and Members of Knesset, attorney Tamar Feldman, Director of ACRI’s Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Department, notes that the establishment of both settlements and outposts in the Occupied Territories constitutes a clear violation of the prohibition to transfer the population of the occupying state to an occupied territory, which is anchored in international law by the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The unique aspect of the proposed bills discussed here is that they take an additional and grave step – they order the confiscation of private property in the occupied territory for the purpose of establishing such settlements.> In so doing, the proposed bills contradict one of the clearest prohibitions of international law: the prohibition to confiscate private property,” attorney Feldman writes.
Attorney Feldman stated today that “this is a wave of absurd bills, which add insult to injury: not only are they intended to retroactively legitimize unauthorized outposts, they also severely violate the basic right to property of the Palestinians who are living under the occupation regime and do not have a real opportunity to defend themselves from this injury. Furthermore, these bills seek to blur the difference between the State of Israel and the occupied territories. The MKs are ignoring – whether purposefully or out of ignorance – the fact that the Knesset is not at all authorized to legislate laws for the occupied territory.”
To download ACRI’s position paper regarding the Outposts Arrangement Bill, click here.
ACRI’s letter to the Committee to Examine the State of Construction in Judea and Samaria, headed by Justice (ret.) Edmund Levy:
What’s the Difference?” – ACRI Q&A document on the differences between unauthorized construction in Palestinian villages and in Israeli outposts: