Land Day 2017: Israeli authorities persist in discriminatory land, housing policies against Arab-Palestinian citizens

Israel continues to sell property belonging to Palestinian refugees, place Palestinian land on the market for mass housing construction in West Bank settlements.

To mark the 41st Land Day, 30 March 2017, Adalah examined the most recent data and found that the Israel Land Authority (ILA) and the Ministry of Construction and Housing persist in their discriminatory policies against Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel in "state land" allocation policy. Examining data concerning land tenders published in 2016 by the ILA both in the State of Israel and in the territories occupied since 1967, Adalah also found that the ILA and the ministry also continue to place Palestinian land on the market for mass housing construction in illegal settlements in the 1967 Occupied Territories, and sell property belonging to Palestinian refugees, thereby further obstructing the likelihood for their right of return and land restitution.


In the course of 2016, the ILA published tenders for the construction of 49,903 housing units in Jewish towns (not including 5,528 housing units in mixed cities with both Arab and Jewish populations). In addition, 4,524 housing units in the illegal settlements across the Green Line (West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights). By contrast, it published tenders for only for 4,151 housing units in Arab communities in Israel (6.4 percent), although the number of inhabitants in these towns and villages is more than double the number of settlers living in the 1967 Occupied Territories (approximately 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel, 90 percent of whom live in Arab localities as compared with over 606,000 Jewish settlers). 


In addition, Israel published tenders for the construction of 49 industrial zones in 2016; five were in settlements, and nine of the tenders were published for industrial zones in Arab communities. In addition, 42 tenders for the sale of properties belonging to Palestinian refugees were also published, in contravention of international law.