- Dec 14, 2011
Proof that Israeli settlements - contrary to their apologists like L'Chaim - are often built on private Palestinian land - which in fact is a violation not only of international law (Fourth Geneva Convention) but also of Israeli law itself.
The government should press for an arms-embargo on Israel until this stops. Preferably this should be expanded to economic sanctions in industries which are not already monopolised by American (and therefore pro-Israel) companies.wikipedia said:By Israeli law, privately owned land can not be part of a settlement. In 2006 Peace Now acquired a report, which it claims was leaked from the Israeli Government's Civil Administration, indicating that up to 40 percent of the land Israel plans to retain in the West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. Peace Now called this a violation of Israeli law. Peace Now published a comprehensive report about settlements on private lands. In the wake of a legal battle, Peace Now lowered the figure to 32 percent, which the Civil Administration also denied. The Washington Post reported that "The 38-page report offers what appears to be a comprehensive argument against the Israeli government's contention that it avoids building on private land, drawing on the state's own data to make the case."
In February 2008, the Civil Administration stated that the land on which more than a third of West Bank settlements was built had been expropriated by the IDF for "security purposes." The unauthorized seizure of private Palestinian land was defined by the Civil Administration itself as 'theft.' According to B'Tselem, more than 42 percent of the West Bank are under control of the Israeli settlements, 21 percent of which was seized from private Palestinian owners, much of it in violation of the 1979 Israeli Supreme Court decision.
A secret database, drafted by a retired senior officer, Baruch Spiegel, on orders from former defense minister Shaul Mofaz, found that some settlements deemed legal by Israel were illegal outposts, and that large portions of Ofra, Elon Moreh and Beit El were built on private Palestinian land. The "Spiegel report" was revealed by Haaretz in 2009. Many settlements are largely built on private lands, without approval of the Israeli Government. According to Israel, the bulk of the land was vacant, was leased from the state, or bought fairly from Palestinian landowners.
Invoking the Absentee Property Law to transfer, sell or lease property in East Jerusalem owned by Palestinians who live elsewhere without compensation has been criticized both inside and outside of Israel. Opponents of the settlements claim that "vacant" land belonged to Arabs who fled or collectively to an entire village, a practice that developed under Ottoman rule. B'Tselem charged that Israel is using the absence of modern legal documents for the communal land as a legal basis for expropriating it. These "abandoned lands" are sometimes laundered through a series of fraudulent sales.
According to Amira Hass, one of the techniques used by Israel to expropriate Palestinian land is to place desired areas under a 'military firing zone' classification, and then issue orders for the evacuation of Palestinians from the villages in that range, while allowing contiguous Jewish settlements to remain unaffected.