Adalah to Israeli AG Mandelblit: Annul 'legalization' of settlements built on private Palestinian land

Report: Attorney General approved legalization of houses built on private Palestinian land in apparent effort to avoid enactment of Settlement Regularization Law.

Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Rights in Israel sent a letter to senior Israeli officials on 2 July 2017 demanding that they act to annul the “legalization” of settlement buildings constructed on private land belonging to Palestinian residents of the West Bank.


On 2 July 2017, Haaretz reported that Israeli Attorney General (AG) Avichai Mandelblit approved last year the legalization of housing units in settlements built on private Palestinian land, apparently in an effort to avoid the enactment of the Law for the Regularization of Settlement in Judea and Samaria - 2017.


Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara argued in her letter, sent to AG Mandelblit, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Military Advocate General (MAG) Sharon Afek, that Mandelblit's decision runs contrary to the state’s commitment to the Supreme Court in the framework of the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law. The state has committed to refrain from any action that entails the expunging of rights, land allocation and planning under the law, or that otherwise "legitimizes" structures in settlements constructed on private Palestinian land.


Adalah also argued that these measures violate international humanitarian law: "The rules of international humanitarian law and the norms of international human rights law apply to all actions taken by the State of Israel in the West Bank. International humanitarian law prohibits the State of Israel as an occupying power to take advantage of occupied territories for its own political purposes and for the needs of its citizens... The International Court of Justice, in its advisory opinion on the Separation Wall being built by the Israeli government in the West Bank, once again emphasized the illegal status of the settlements in the territories occupied since 1967, and its contravention of international humanitarian law, as the sweeping appropriation of assets belonging to the protected population constitutes a gross violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 under Article 147 of the Convention."


Further, Adalah noted that "the Supreme Court gave special weight to the right to property of the Palestinians in the West Bank and even referred to it as a constitutional right that may not be harmed, unless for a worthy purpose, in a proportionate fashion, and in a manner that aligns with the principles of both international humanitarian law and Israeli law.”

In light of the above, Adalah demanded that the attorney general, defense minister, and MAG refrain from taking steps to "legalize" construction in the settlements on private Palestinian land.