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Israeli court allows settlers access to Palestinian Land Registry

February 13, 2014 at 2:56 am

An Israeli court has tied its recommendations to the interests of the settlement project in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinians have claimed. The allegation was made following a judgement of the Jerusalem Central Court in favour of settlers who demanded access to documentation belonging to the Palestinian Land Registry. The documents have been in Israeli hands since it occupied all of Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.

The director of maps and information systems at the Centre for Arab Studies, Khalil el-Tufkaji, accused the Israeli judiciary of preparing for the seizure of the rest of the Palestinian-owned lands in Jerusalem. Palestinian property has been grabbed by the Israelis on the pretext that the owners are “absent”.

According to lawyer Qais Nasser, a specialist in construction, regulation and real estate law, Israel’s use of the law is part of its strategy to gain more land for settlements. The lecturer at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem said that Israeli law is used to undermine the rights of the Palestinians. He told Al Jazeera that the source of the court’s assumed jurisdiction over the Civil Administration in the occupied West Bank to provide access to title deeds of Palestinian properties is not clear, as it is not subject to the freedom of information law.

A researcher at Israel’s Ir Amim association, which monitors settlement affairs, described the court’s decision as “dangerous”. Ahmad Sab Labn said that allowing settlers to have access to the Land Registry is one way for the Israeli government to circumvent international conventions and evade its responsibilities by paving the way for settlers’ groups to operate freely in the looting of Palestinian land.