Israel’s Settlement Regulation Bill violates International Law

Palestine Updates 19/2017

Editorial Comment 

Israel’s Settlement Regulation Bill violates International Law

(Based on articles from the “Jews for Justice in Palestine”* newsletter)

“The Knesset has never before enacted legislation regulating Arabs’ property ownership. As a rule, elected officials legislate for their constituents and those within the area of their jurisdiction, not others…If you want to pass legislation for the West Bank, you have to extend your sovereignty and allow the residents of Judea and Samaria the right to become citizens and vote in Knesset elections. And the meaning is clear”. (Words from an ex-Knesset member)

The Knesset legislation is unjust and disgraceful.  MK Benny Begin – a “Greater Israel” supporter – dubbed it “the robbery law… Don’t legislate evil laws and don’t authorize theft”, he declared.

Even the supreme apartheid ruler-racist, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fears he may end up in the International Criminal Court. ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda is soon to decide whether Palestine is a country and whether the court will discuss crimes committed in its territory. The UN General Assembly has already voted by a massive by a huge majority that Palestine is a country. And in the Rome Statute documents that established the court, it is clearly stated that settlement is illegal.

The “Regulation Bill” sanctions the expropriation of private Palestinian property in order to render legal hundreds, if not thousands, of houses constructed unlawfully by Israeli West Bank settlers. It raises significant legal problems under Israeli law and under international law, as the latter is interpreted and applied by Israeli courts. Among many other problems, the Bill interferes with private property rights of Palestinian land owners in order to benefit Israeli settlers, and runs contrary to long-standing jurisprudence of the Israeli Supreme Court, according to which the construction of settlements in the West Bank can be permitted only on non-private land. It also raises serious issues concerning the power of the Israeli Knesset to regulate land rights in an area not subject to Israeli law (unlike East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Israel has never extended its domestic law to the West Bank).

The Attorney-General of the State of Israel has objected to the Bill and has taken the extraordinary step of declaring that he would not defend the State in litigation concerning the constitutionality of the Bill.  The Fourth Geneva Convention explicitly forbids an occupying power from moving its own civilians into occupied territory. According to the Israeli NGO Peace Now, the regulation law would retroactively legalize 55 outposts, including approximately 4,000 housing units in both settlements and illegal outposts through the expropriation of over 8,000 dunums (about 2,000 acres) of private Palestinian lands. The new law would grant settlers the right to live in the land if, as stated by the bill, they “innocently” took it – ostensibly without knowing Palestinians owned the tracts or whether homes were built there at the state’s instruction.
Ranjan Solomon
Editor
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*JEWS FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS (JfJfP)
Jews from every background, in Britain, Israel, and across the world. is a network of Jews who are British or live in Britain, practising and secular, Zionist and not. We bring together Jews from across the religious and political spectrum and value contributions to the struggle for justice for Palestinians by 

For more about their work see :http://jfjfp.com/
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Palestinians petition Court on West Bank outposts’ legalization

Palestinian groups petitioned Israel’s High Court of Justice to overturn a controversial new law that retroactively legalizes settler homes built on private Palestinian land. In the petition filed, they claim the legislation violates international humanitarian law and ask the High Court to issue a temporary injunction against its implementation. The involved Palestinian groups are 17 West Bank municipalities and three Palestinian human rights groups from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Report JTA News gives details

Israeli settlers to reach 800,000 in occupied territories in 2017

The Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem and Land Research Center revealed to European Union consuls and the Arab countries accredited to the Palestinian Authority that the number of settlers living in the West Bank is increasing as well as settlement construction, the PIC reported.

Applied Research Institute–Jerusalem, points out that “in 1992, a year before Oslo, settlements in the West bank covered an area of 77 kilometers with 248,000 Israeli settlers. In 2016, however, the area covered with settlements reached 197 kilometers, an increase by 156%, with 763,000 Israeli settlers, triples the number that existed in 1992.”

Read Palestine Chronicle account for details

Activists’ stage pro-Palestine rally during Netanyahu’s UK Visit

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Monday staged a protest to decry the visit of ‘War criminal’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the United Kingdom. Friends of Al-Aqsa, Muslim Association of Britain, Palestinian Forum in Britain, Stop the War Coalition and War on Want joined the event. Protesters recalled the visit marks “50 years since Israel’s illegal called occupation of Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.”

Sputnik News reports

Union of Agricultural Work Committees, (UAWC) Palestine appeals to Peasant Movement in Latin America

Writing to “Brothers and Sisters in La Via Campasina, the UAWC wrote:  “Israel’s parliament passed a law to legalize West Bank settlement spots built unlawfully on Palestinian land classified as area “C” according to Oslo agreement in 1993, which constitutes 62% from the West Bank’s lands and under the Israeli full control…This law would allow the Israeli occupation to authorize thousands of Israeli settlements units, and 53 Israeli spots, as well as, to confiscate 8,000 dunums from privately owned Palestinian lands. Moreover, this law will open the space for further confiscations of the private Palestinian lands without any restrictions as long as the aim from these confiscations is more settlement expansion…La Via Campasina hopes its movement and members raise their voices and call on their governments to put pressure to undo this fascist law, and recognize Palestine as an independent State.

Read full text of the letter from UAWC

B’Tselem: 1,000 Olive trees uprooted to build bypass road

The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, said on February 1, 2017 that the Israeli occupation authorities began on Sunday, January 15, 2017 uprooting olive trees and leveling land near the Palestinian villages of ‘Azzun and a-Nabi Elyas in Qalqilya District, under the supervision of Civil Administration (CA) personnel.

“This work is being carried out as part of the decision made by the military and the CA to build a bypass road to replace the section of Route 55 that runs through a-Nabi Elyas. Route 55 originally served as the main link between Nablus and Qalqilya and was one of the major traffic arteries in the West Bank.

Palestine Chronicle reports on the brutal actions of occupation authorities
Samidoun Report: 590 Palestinians seized by Israeli in January

Palestinian prisoners’ and human rights associations, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and the Prisoners’ Affairs Commission, issued a monthly report on Sunday, 5 February on the imprisonment of Palestinians in January 2017.

See translation provided by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

New Zealand academics slam ‘double-standard’ on Israel

A number of New Zealand’s leading academics on conflict resolution have slammed the country’s “dangerous double standard” on the Israel- Palestine problem. In an open letter to Foreign Minister Murray McCully, the academics say New Zealand needs to take a firm stance on the long-running conflict in the Middle East and show leadership.

New Zealand Herald reports

Activists fight new anti-BDS legislation across US

Activists and lawyers in the state of Washington are challenging several bills which attack free speech rights and smear Palestine solidarity activists. A Virginia lawmaker is classifying Palestine advocacy as discrimination. The barrage of legislation is part of a growing wave of laws aimed at punishing and silencing activists across the US involved with the Palestinian-led BDS campaign to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights.

From Electronic Intifada we read more