Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit yesterday announced that confiscating private Palestinian land to be used for settlement projects is legal, Israeli media reported.
The Israeli TV Channel 7 said that the private lands are to be confiscated for building infrastructure projects, including paving roads for the illegal settlements.
Mandelblit’s opinion came after demands from the Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked during a discussion on an access road project, which is currently being paved, for the illegal settlement of Harsha.
In a statement reported by the Israeli Ynet News, Shaked said: “The justice minister welcomes this decision that constitutes another stage in the implementation of the rights of hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria [occupied West Bank].”
She also said, according to the statement, that she “will continue to promote a re-examination of previous legal positions on the regulation of construction in Judea and Samaria.”
Last October, the Israeli Supreme Court accepted a petition filed by the Palestinian residents of the town of Silwad in the outskirts of Ramallah against building a settlement on their land.
In February, the Israeli Knesset approved a bill which aimed to regulate the status of hundreds of illegal settlements built on private lands in the occupied West Bank.
The bill stipulates transferring the right to use the land to the commissioner of the Israeli government until a peace deal is reached between the Palestinians and Israel.
Mandelblit did not accept this bill then and said it would not represent the state in the Supreme Court, saying it was illegal even after it was modified. He also called for the Supreme Court to freeze all the confiscation orders of private Palestinian land.
The reversal of his opinion, Quds Press said, is considered a greenlight for the Israeli authorities to continue to confiscate private Palestinian land.