Peace Now Settlement Watch: AG Mandelblit Considers Relocating Amona to Lands Owned by Absentees

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

The Attorney General, Avichai Mandelblit, stated yesterday (August 7, 2016) that he will consider the option of moving Amona to a nearby absentees' property despite "weighty legal issues." The option was proposed to him by a committee established by the government to find a solution of the illegal outposts issue. Approving the committee's legal opinion will consist of a sharp change of Israeli policy thus far, and contradict decisions of the Supreme Court, according to which private land cannot be used for the purpose of settlements. Such an approval will expose Israel to lawsuits and create a precedent that could lead to the doubling of the land taken up by settlements.

Peace Now: "The Attorney General is signaling that he is willing to approve the stealing of private lands of absentees for settlers who themselves stole private lands against the law. The extrapolation of the AG approving this option is that from now on, absentees' property could be leased to the settlers, despite of the fact that these are private properties. The government's willingness to politically compensate the settlers of Amona, who settled on private Palestinian land, is leading to devastating consequences on the ground and to the distortion of Israel's moral and legal systems."

To read Peace Now's position paper on this matter click here.

The AG's Statement, translated:

"A meeting was held tonight at the Attorney General's office with the participation of the State Attorney, Deputy Attorney Generals, members of the regularization committee and relevant representatives of government offices, on the recommendations of the regularization committee regarding the outpost of Amona. 

"Based on the recommendations of the regularization committee, the suggestion is to evacuate the outpost and re-establish it on nearby lands, which according to the position of the committee can be defined as 'absentees' property.'

"This recommendation raises weighty legal issues, among others, in the field of property law and the status of absentees' property, and in the field of planning and construction law.

"The starting point for the discussion, as emphasized by the Attorney General,  is an uncompromising compliance with the rule of law in general and in the West Bank in particular. In this case the AG affirmed the importance of respecting the decision of the Supreme Court...from 25.12.2014 word for word, according to which all existing construction in the outpost has to be evacuated no later than 25.12.2015. 

"Regarding the committee's recommendations, the Attorney General stated that there is  no legal impediment to examining the status of the adjacent property lots that according to an initial indication could be considered as absentees' property, in order to discuss, in an organized and thorough manner, the recommendations of the committee.

"After the examination will be completed and as full a database as possible will be presented, the AG could attend the legal issues that come up, including in the fields of managing absentees' property and the field of planning and construction law, as stated.