Palestinians file first challenge to Israeli legalization of West Bank outposts
JERUSALEM (JTA) – Palestinian entities have petitioned Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn a controversial new law that retroactively legalizes settler homes built on private Palestinian land.
In the petition filed Wednesday, Feb. 8, 17 West Bank municipalities and three Palestinian human rights groups from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel claimed the legislation violates international humanitarian law and asked the court to issue a temporary injunction against its implementation.
The regulation law, which the Knesset passed Monday, Feb. 6, allows the state to seize private Palestinian land on which settlements or outposts were built, as long as the settlers were not aware of the status of the land. In cases where the landowners are known, they are entitled to compensation.
The Palestinian groups argue the law violates the protections international law gives property owners. Further, they say, it harms the dignity of the Palestinians in the West Bank by putting the interests of the settlers above theirs.
Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, has said he would not defend the law before the Supreme Court. It was the first time that an Israeli attorney general has made such a refusal, legal experts told JTA.