Adalah: Gov't's 'Validation Bill' would cause serious harm to rights of Palestinian landowners in the West Bank

Bill violates both international and Israeli law; Israel is forbidden – as occupying power – to exploit occupied lands for its own political or civil purposes.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel responded today, Tuesday, 6 December 2016, to the latest developments in the legislation of the “Validation Bill” now making its way through the Knesset. The bill passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset yesterday, 5 December 2016.


The Validation Bill would allow the state to expropriate private Palestinian lands in the West Bank for the purposes of settlement construction. According to the bill, Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank would be "validated" via retroactive appropriation, planning, and zoning regulations.


The bill, which was approved by a margin of 60 to 49 by the Knesset plenum in a preliminary reading yesterday, is being pushed through the legislative process by the government and Knesset despite the opposition of Israeli Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit.


AG Mandelblit previously stated that the law, if approved, would violate both Israeli and international law and would not survive the test of the Israeli Supreme Court.


In a letter to the AG, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara emphasized that the bill violates both international law and Israeli constitutional law, which both apply to occupied territories. According to international law, the State of Israel is forbidden – as an occupying power – to exploit occupied lands for its own political or civil purposes.


"The bill causes serious harm to the rights of Palestinian landowners – residents and refugees alike – to property ownership," Attorney Bishara wrote. "The bill would allow the expropriation of wide swaths of land from the Palestinian population, an action that would be in absolute support of the interests of the occupying power. The retroactive validation of settlements constructed on privately-owned Palestinian lands, and the retroactive validation of acts of trespassing by Israeli settlers via a process of expropriation is – against the background of the illegality of the settlements in general – a clear violation of the right to property.”


READ: Letter from Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara to Attorney General (Hebrew)



Adalah to Attorney General: Reject bill legalizing expropriation of private Palestinian land for Israeli settlements