Rights groups to petition Israel’s High Court against regularization law

WAFA/ Ramallah/

Two rights organizations said Wednesday that they are set to file a petition with the Israeli High Court against Israel’s new regularization law, which allows the state to expropriate private Palestinian lands in the West Bank for the purposes of settlement construction.

The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed the regularization law on Monday. Its passage drew strong Palestinian, Arab and international condemnation.

A statement by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC) said in a statement that attorneys Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany will formally file the petition on Wednesday which will include aerial photographs of 16 settlements overlaid with the borders of the West Bank Palestinian local councils within which they are situated.

Adalah and JLAC are representing Palestinian local councils in the West Bank upon whose lands Israeli settlements have been constructed.

Attorney Suhad Bishara, director of the Land and Planning Unit of Adalah, warned against the consequences of the new law:

“This sweeping and dangerous law permits the expropriation of vast tracts of private Palestinian land, giving absolute preference to the political interests of Israel as an occupying power and to Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). It violates the property rights both of resident and refugee Palestinians.”

Attorney Bishara also emphasized that the regularization or validation law constitutes a violation of international law and the most recent United Nations Security Council resolution against the settlements.

“The primary aim of this law is to ‘validate’ more illegal settlements in the West Bank. These political considerations directly contradict the UN Security Council Resolution passed on 23 December 2016, which re-confirmed the illegality of Israeli settlements,” she said, adding, “Further, the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory is a war crime, according to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Moreover, the application of this Israeli law on the OPT is a violation of international law.”