Comments on Unauthorized Construction on Private Palestinian Land

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The purpose of these proposed laws is to grant retroactive approval to unauthorized construction on privately-owned land in the West Bank, including the confiscation of the land from its lawful Palestinian owners. The proposals mark a new nadir in terms of the trampling of Palestinian personal rights and the disrespect for the rule of law in the Territories. Their effective meaning is the encouragement by the Knesset of the invasion and usurping of the private property of others, provided the “others” involved are Palestinian residents of the Territories.

 

The grave injury the proposed laws seek to promote does not exist in a vacuum. The Israeli occupation regime in these areas causes the mortal and ongoing violation of the individual and collective rights of Palestinians, despite the fact that they are considered a protected population in accordance with international law. However, even within the framework of the damaging regime created in the Territories, the Israeli authorities have at least officially maintained the prohibition against seizing private land for the purpose of establishing settlements. The adoption of the proposed laws will make the Knesset a partner directly liable in the act of usurping private land – an act that is contrary to both international and Israeli law. This will happen despite the fact that the Knesset is not the legal sovereign in these areas, and accordingly is not empowered to enact laws relating to this area. Thus the Members of Knesset seek to continue the process of blurring the distinction between the Occupied Territories and the sovereign State of Israel, by the back door and without any official decision to annex the territories.

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Impact of Settlements, The Occupied Territories

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