AG to High Court: Settlement Regulation Law unconstitutional

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit says that provisions of the law could create “severe discrimination” that favors the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria • He warns it could be abused by settlers who knowingly build on private Palestinian land.

By Yair Altman, Gideon Allon and Efrat Forsher

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit reiterated his opposition on Wednesday to the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law, which allows the government to retroactively approve homes on private property.

“There is no way around the fact that this law is unconstitutional and must be struck down,” Mendelblit told the High Court of Justice. “It does not pass constitutional muster,” he added.

Mendelblit said that the law was designed to protect those that may have built their homes without the proper permits or ownership rights so long as they did so in good faith, but he stressed that in practice it could be used to help those who knowingly seek to violate the law in cases where the homes were built on contested plots that may be privately owned by Palestinians.

He then continued to explain his opposition was based its potential for abuse, not just on its merits: “It was ostensibly aimed at addressing the predicament of many residents of Judea and Samaria who discovered that their homes were not on public land and faced eviction and demolition.

“While there is no disagreement that we should help such people if they unwittingly reach such a complex situation, but the law goes beyond that and also addresses cases that do not merit the same approach. For example, it could apply to cases where construction is carried out by a person who has been notified of the ownership status of the land in question and decides to continue with the construction activity. ”

He stressed that the law’s provisions do not properly differentiate between the two different kinds of cases. “It applies across the board and clearly favors the settlers’ interests and their rights and has the potential to severely discriminate the Palestinian population. The provisions lack the right proportion.”

Habayit Hayehudi MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli, who drafted the law, criticized Mendelblit, saying that “if the High Court strikes down the law, we will pass a law that would let the Knesset overrule the court.”

Likud MK Yoav Kisch and Habayit Hayehudi MK Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement that “Mendelblit’s insistence that this law be nullified is both absurd and unacceptable.”

Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetolova praised the attorney general and said that “it is good to that in this crazy time we live in, someone is defending Israel [from international criticism] and can save its government.” The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also praised Mendelblit and said that he “made it clear today that this law is wrong.”

Meanwhile, a settler group fighting to retroactively approve homes near Hebron said it expects the government to come up “with new solutions to approve the homes.”

November 23, 2017 | 2 Comments »

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  1. More Orwellian madness. Israel doesn’t have a Constitution. Shaked must succeed in reversing Aharon Barak’s legal revolution.

  2. It’s now 70 years and even before that, the potential Israelis should have figured out which Arabs could possible have owned “private land”. Except for the churches, and 4-5 wealthy out-of=country families, there was NO private land in 1918. All the Land was owned by the Turkish Government and they didn’t sell land. The Arabs in YESHA and parts of what eventually became Israel were largely mud hut fellahin, who were allowed by the \turks to fam the land, many on shares for taxes. When they left or moved, theland reverted to the Govt.

    In 1918 what was Turkish Land became a Trust for the Jews under the British Mandate, who as Temporary Trustees, had NO authority to sell any land to, anyone. This land had devolved on the Jewish People in 1920, and on the State of Israel in 1948. So HOW DID THE LOCAL ARABS GET TO OWN LAND with “valid” title deeds and all. Only through occupation of the land and forged deeds.

    The State is missing out on this vital matter, which would settle a lot of the problems of Jews having built on “Palestinian owned land”. What I said above is much of the reason that the “owners” can not be found, and never appear to represent themselves in court, although the traitor High Court mostly rules in their favour…….

    The country should be ruled by the Government anyway, not by an out of control High Court.