Yesterday, Sunday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by Palestinians against declaring 224 dunums as “state land,” which settlers seized from the “Kochav Yaqoub” settlement, located in the area of Kufur Aqab, north of occupied Jerusalem, according to Haaretz newspaper.
The newspaper pointed out that the Supreme Court’s decision, issued by a panel of three judges, Yael Felner, Noam Solberg and Alex Stein, would lead to the legitimization of the two random outposts, “Nativ Ha’avot” and “Sdeh Bouaz” and buildings in more than 20 settlements.
The settlers attach great importance to the court’s decision. The newspaper quoted a member of Knesset Ayelet Shaked, from the right-wing coalition of parties, as saying that, “After the Supreme Court removed the restrictions, work should be done for a speedy settlement of Nativ Haavot and Sdeh Bouaz. And we worked hard against this unjustified plea, and this is a good ending, but not all is so good so far. The settlement should be terminated.
The petitioners ’representative, lawyer Shlomi Zakharia, of the human rights organization Yesh Din, warned that“ the court’s decision opens a wide door to massive control over Palestinian lands. ”
In justifying the seizure of these lands, the Israeli Public Prosecution Office claimed that pictures taken from the air, in the years 1969 – 1980, show that the lands were not cultivated during these years, noting that the Palestinian landowners confirmed that they were cultivating it before the 1967 occupation, but the occupation authorities The Israeli froze land registration procedures in their names.
The judges supported the prosecution’s allegations, and the judge claimed that if a person stops cultivating for three years, after having planted it for ten years, he loses his right to it even if he starts the land registration procedures and does not continue after the first stage of the procedures.
In 2013, the occupation authorities declared the lands on which houses were built in the “Kochav Yaqoub” settlement as “state land.” In 2016, the Israeli Military Appeals Committee decided that this declaration was not legal, after a petition filed by Palestinians through the “Yesh Din” organization, which was joined by a Likud party activist named Moti Kogel, who claimed to have bought the land from the Palestinians.
The newspaper quoted informed sources as saying that the decision of the Appeal Committee is rare, especially since settler homes were built on part of the lands. However, the commander of the Civil Administration, the occupation arm in the West Bank, rejected the appeal committee’s recommendation, and decided that declaring these lands “state land” would remain unchanged. Subsequently, the Palestinians submitted the petition to the Supreme Court, in 2017.
Lawyer Zacharia asserted that the Supreme Court’s decision effectively nullifies the land status settlement procedures stipulated in Jordanian law. He added that “the court’s decision contradicts itself in several points, and does not deal with the enormous complexities of the case, especially in light of the fact that the region is occupied.”
The violation of the rights of the Palestinians, especially the absentees, and not only them, is immense, and it is clear that the court is aware of this, but despite this it chose to legalize practices that four years ago decided that they are not legal.