Israel Land Authority has no legal authority to offer land tenders in occupied West Bank

ILA is offering land tenders in at least seven West Bank settlements in 2016-2017; Adalah demands immediate halt to this illegal practice.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter to senior Israeli officials on 23 May 2017 demanding that they cancel open tenders offering "state lands" in the West Bank because the Israeli agency responsible for issuing these tenders has no legal authority in the 1967 Occupied Territories.


Attorney Suhad Bishara, director of Adalah's Land and Planning Rights Unit, wrote in the letter to Israel Land Authority (ILA) Director Shimron Adiel, Construction Minister Yoav Galant, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, and to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, that the ILA does not have the legal authority to offer land tenders in the West Bank.


During 2016 and 2017, the ILA published open tenders for available plots in West Bank settlements including Givat Ze'ev, Ma'ale Adumim, Alfei Menashe, Ariel, Beitar Illit, Karnei Shomron, and Oranit.


"The territories included in these tenders are being managed as if they are part of the State of Israel to which Israeli state law applies. This practice – for all intents and purposes – therefore annexes these territories to the State of Israel," Attorney Bishara wrote.


A view of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement located near Jerusalem in the West Bank (Photo: Sue Schoenfeld/Flickr Creative Commons)


"The Basic Law: Israel Lands determines that Israeli land is 'land in Israel belonging to the state, a development authority, or to the Jewish National Fund.' In other words: land within the territory of the State of Israel."


Adalah emphasizes that this practice is a violation of international law, which determines that any long-term changes imposed upon occupied territories must be in the interests of the local protected civilian population. International law also forbids the occupying power from exploiting occupied territories for its general use.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter [Hebrew]