Peace Now Settlement Watch News Flash: First Declaration of State Land Since the Establishment of the Current Government

News from Peace Now's (Israel) Settlement Watch:

Peace Now learned today that last month the Head of the Government Property at the Civil Administration declared 30 dumans of the Palestinian villages of Jinsafut and Dir Istya as state lands. This is, as far as we know, the first declaration of state land since August 2014, when 4,000 dunams were declared as state land - a step which has led to heavy condemnations, including by the United States. While declarations of state land came to a halt after the Roadmap, since Netanyahu came to power declarations of state land have acceded 6,000 dumans. Just like previous declarations, this declaration is not technical but political, as it has to be approved by the Minister of Defense. 
 
The main purpose of this declaration is to retroactively legalize construction in the settlement of Karnei Shomron, and to allow it to expand (see photos). Palestinians landowners have already submitted an appeal to the Civil Administration against the declaration. Although the declaration is small in size and is adjacent to an already built area of a settlement, it is still a clear step taken by the Israeli Government which is taking over land and handing it over to the settlers.
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In yellow - the land declared as state land
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It is important to note that out of all state lands allocations, a necessary step in order to make use of these public lands which are meant to serve the local population, 98.7% were allocated for Israelis while only 1.3% were allocation for Palestinian purposes. Last week Peace Now submitted a petition to the High Court demanding to publish all land allocations, and to allow for due process in the distribution of public resources. 
 
Peace Now: This declaration resembles a confiscation of Palestinian lands. The government is utilizing a draconian interpretation to the Ottoman law in order to take over lands in the West Bank and uses them for the purpose of settlement. 
 
For more information see: What is a State Land Declaration?
 
To download the military order of the declaration - click here.

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