The Supreme Court of Israel rules for removal of colonial houses from Palestinian land

FILE PHOTO: A General View of Houses in Mitzpe Kramim’s Jewish Outpost on the Israeli Occupied West Bank, June 18, REUTERS / Ronen Zvulun / File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a cluster of houses in a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank was built on private Palestinian land and should therefore be removed.

By accepting a petition by Palestinian prosecutors, the Israeli Supreme Court overturned a 2018 district court ruling that violated judicial grounds by acknowledging the claim of Mitzpe Kramim colonists on the land, despite being owned by Palestine.

The district court had declared the colonists the legal owners, and found that Israeli authorities were unaware that the land was privately owned when they originally mapped the area.

That ruling was based on Israeli law, which states that transactions with legal errors could be valid if they were carried out in “good faith”.

Mitzpe Kramim was established on a hilltop overlooking the Jordan Valley 20 years ago, and is home to about 40 families, most of whom live on Palestinian-owned plots and say they have received approval from the Israeli authorities to do so. to set up.

But the Supreme Court said the Israeli authorities had not acted in good faith by “turning a blind eye to the many warning signs that have been issued for many years”, which showed that the plots were in fact owned by Palestinians.

By placing most of the responsibility for what it called “the painful outcome for residents of Mitzpe Kramim” on the state, the court gave authorities 36 months to find alternative housing for them.

Most countries consider the settlements built on land that Israel conquered during the war in the Middle East in 1967 to be illegal. Israel and the United States dispute this. The Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future state.

About 450,000 Israeli settlers live in the area among about three million Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank was set aside this month in a diplomatic deal with the United Arab Emirates

Reported by Maayan Lubell; Edited by Mark Heinrich

Our standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.