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Almost 3,500 illegal Israeli structures have been built on private Palestinian land Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Almost 3,500 illegal Israeli structures have been built on private Palestinian land

Thousands of Israeli homes were built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank [AFP]

Date of publication: 24 August, 2017

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Thousands of Israeli structures have been built on private Palestinian land and risk being retrospectively legalised under a controversial Israeli law, a report has found.
Almost 3,500 Israeli structures in the occupied West Bank have been built on private Palestinian land and are at risk of being retroactively legalised under the contentious "land grab" law.

Data released from the Israeli Civil Administration revealed that 3,455 Israeli homes and buildings were built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, making their construction illegal under both Israeli and international law. 

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, around 45 percent of the structures built on private Palestinian land were established on "regularised private land" – land whose Palestinian owner is known and has formally registered the lands – while the other structures are on lands that have unconfirmed owners.

The Civil Administration data is similar to the numbers that appeared in a recent Peace Now report, which estimated that the expropriation law could legalise up to 4,000 housing units in the settlements and outposts. 

The law states that any settlements built in the occupied West Bank "in good faith or at the state's instruction" – without knowledge that the land upon which it was built was privately owned by Palestinians – could be officially recognised by Israel pending minimal proof of governmental support in its establishment and some form of compensation to the Palestinian landowners.

The Israeli government had defended the law in Israel's Supreme Court, claiming that the expropriation of Palestinian-owned land would benefit Palestinians because of the financial compensation received for it.
However, rights groups have said that the law actually violates international law and is unconstitutional.

Israeli rights group ACRI said that passing the law was "a clear act of applying sovereignty" to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while Israel would continue to rule Palestinians with Israeli military law. 

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, an upwards of 600,000 Israelis have moved into Jewish settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, despite the international community routinely condemning settler activities as a major impediment to peace in the region.

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