Human Rights Group Defends Palestinian Landowners from Land Seizures

26 January 2017

In a petition to the High Court, NIF grantee Yesh Din is demanding the annulment of relocation plans for the settlement outpost of Amona. According to the petition, a number of the plots designated for Amona evacuees to take over belong to Palestinian landowners. With the help of Yesh Din, the affected Palestinians have submitted their objections regarding the decision to declare these plots abandoned property.

Amona is a West Bank settlement outpost constructed in violation of Israeli law on the private property of Palestinians. An existing High Court ruling requires the Israeli government to uphold those private property rights by removing the outpost, and the Israeli government has embraced a plan to relocate the outpost as a means of complying with the decision.

As a start, the petitioners requested that the court issue an injunction barring any construction on the plots until the petition is resolved. The High Court did respond with a temporary injunction on the work to prepare a new location for the Amona evacuees. The deadline for the evacuation of Amona is February 8th.

Yesh Din explained that “the decision to apply [the designation of] ‘abandoned property’ for the benefit of the residents of Amona is illegal, based on a false pretext of an urgent public necessity… this is an act of expropriating private lands for political purposes, preserving the current government coalition, as well as appeasing the residents of Amona… [This] directly harms the Palestinian landowners.”

Yesh Din executive director Neta Patrick added: “Ever since the notion of using abandoned property was suggested, we have claimed that one injustice cannot be corrected with another, and that additional land cannot be taken over just to appease Amona residents.”

Photo by Danny Mitzpe via Wikimedia Commons