The Israeli government has been urged to reject a proposed bill legalising the expropriation of private Palestinian land for Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has written to Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit asking him to oppose the ‘Validation Bill,’ which would “allow the state to expropriate private Palestinian lands in the West Bank for the purposes of settlement construction.”
The bill would enable Israeli settlements built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank to be ‘validated’ via “retroactive appropriation, planning, and zoning regulations.”
In the letter to Mandelblit, Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara explained how the bill violates international law, specifically the prohibition on an occupying power exploiting “occupied lands for its own political or civil purposes.”
The approval and implementation of the bill would validate control over occupied territory, alter land-use designation, and create new facts on the ground that prevent Palestinian residents from making free use of their wealth and natural resources.
Bishara also notes how “the transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory is designated a war crime by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”
The primary consideration behind this bill is the validation of illegal settlements in the West Bank. The purpose of this bill is inappropriately political in nature. It stands in opposition to both international law and to a number of United Nations Security Council decisions, concerning the policy of Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories since 1967, which reiterated the illegality of Israeli settlements in these territories.