Sunday, November 01, 2020

Knesset pushes bill to allow non-Arab purchase of lands in Area C of the occupied West Bank

By Alicia Ramos Perez - July 12, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settlements] [Area C] [Israeli law]

According to Haaretz, a new bill regarding the acquisition of land rights in the West Bank in Area C by non-Arabs will be considered by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on July 15.

This bill is being sponsored by MK Bezalel Smotrich, from Habayit Hayehudi, also known as the Jewish Home, Orthodox Jewish and extreme Zionist political party in Israel.
MK Smotrich seeks to strengthen the Jewish presence and property rights in what they call Judea and Samaria. This refers to the Israeli governmental as 'administrative regions’ instead of military occupation.
The bill, if drafted into legislation, will aim to modify the 1953 Jordanian law that allows exclusivity to Jordanian and Arab citizens to purchase land and property in the occupied areas of the West Bank Area C.
The explanatory notes of the proposed bill stated that “the fact that an Israeli currently can’t buy land there just because he is an Israeli is unacceptable.”
MK Smotrich’s proposed bill continued: “Therefore, this legislation proposes that any person be entitled to acquire land rights in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], as is the norm in most countries around the world.”
The case of the oPt is exceptional and without precedent as actions by the Israeli authority are not in compliance with the rule of law. Currently, Israeli Jews are able to purchase land and property in Area C because of a loophole in the 1953 Jordanian law.
Up until 1970’s the Jordanian 1953 law was in effect for a total of 51 years. However, a loophole was found, allowing Israeli citizens to purchase through a registered company in the West Bank, regardless of whom owned the company. This is how settlements come to exist - Jews set up companies registered in the West Bank and use this to buy land.
60 percent of the West Bank lands are classified as 'Area C’; this means full and exclusive control by Israel. In this area, Israel prohibits Palestinian construction and development, as it is 'Israeli state land’. Only 1 percent of the Palestinians who ask for construction permit have it granted.
This law will simply make it easier for Israelis to develop constructions, which has already been ongoing since the 6-day-war in 1967. Israel’s control of Area C adversely affects Palestinians. Area A and B are 166 'islands’ and home to the major concentrations of the Palestinian population.
The population in these areas do not have enough space for development and permits in Area C are never granted. Through this law, Israel would simply be legalizing a crime that is being committed since the illegal occupation.

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