An Israeli court has for the first time recognized as legal a settlement established on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, court officials said.The settlement of Mitzpe Carmit, close to Ramallah, was established in the late 1990s on land owned by Palestinians who had title deeds recognised by the Israeli authorities. The owners had appealed to the Israeli courts to have the settlers evicted from their land.
But the Jerusalem district court found the settlement was legal as it had been created with the consent of the Israeli authorities and that the settlers had settled there “in good faith” – without knowing the land was privately owned. “The District Court today clearly stated that whoever settled [the land] with the state’s approval and in good faith, would not be evacuated. The ruling may still be appealed, but if that fails, it may serve as a precedent for the legal recognition of settlements established without permission from the Israeli authorities or occupying land privately owned by Palestinians.