Posted by: noticeable | November 21, 2006

Peace Now Study Finds 40% of Israeli Settlements Built on Palestinian Land

This story begs the question: What is Palestinian Land? The way we define things make all the difference. I would argue that land confiscated through brute force, illegally, should not be considered Israeli owned. Rather the ownership of these dunams remains with those it was wrongfully taken.

Nonetheless, I post this story as a testament to those who believe private Palestinina land is not used for Israeli settlers.

40% of settlements built on Arab land, study finds

By Yair Sheleg, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service

A new study conducted by left-wing group Peace Now has found that approximately 40 percent of settlements, including long-standing communities, are built on private Palestinian land and not on state-owned land.

In a press conference held in Jerusalem on Tuesday, the group presented a report asserting that out of a total area of 157,000 dunams used by West Bank settlements and industrial zones, 61,000 dunams (approximately 38 percent) are privately owned by Palestinians.

The report singles out the two largest settlements, both of which have city status. It says that 86.4 percent of Ma’ale Adumim is built on Palestinian land, and 35.1 percent of Ariel.

The group says that the data presented in the report “demonstrates that the property rights of many Palestinians have been systematically violated in the course of settlement building.”

State-owned lands amount to 87,000 dunams (including 2,000 dunams soon to be declared as owned by the state) and just 2,000 dunams are Jewish-owned.

The leaders of Peace Now said at the press conference that the report is a serious indictment of the entire settlement movement.

“Israel has violated even its own norms and laws in the West Bank, through the confiscation of private Palestinian property and the building of settlements upon them,” the report says.

According to the group, the data shows that settlers are guilty not only of larceny, in stealing collective assets of the Palestinian people, they also disinherit Palestinian residents from their privately-owned property.

The report also cites the case of the settlement of Elon Moreh, which was established in 1979 on 700 dunams of land belonging to a village near Nablus, which had been seized by Israel for military purposes.

The order to seize the land was, according to the report, issued by the then-commander of the Israel Defense Forces
in the West Bank, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who is now minister for infrastructure.

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