Friday, April 3, 2009

Military court rules in favor of extremist settlers who occupied Palestinian lands

An Israeli military court decided on Friday that it is “illegal” to evacuate Israeli settlers from Palestinian lands they illegal annexed in the northern part of the West Bank more than three years ago, implanted them and installed their outposts there.
What this decision means is that the army would not evacuate settlers from outposts that the army itself ordered their evacuation.
In March 2005, the government of Israel adopted the opinion it had commissioned from Attorney Talia Sasson, former head of the Special Tasks Department in the State Attorney's Office, regarding unauthorized outposts.
In doing so, it set, for the first time, detailed criteria for examining the legality of Israeli communities in the West Bank according to local law.
But the new ruling of the military court comes to neglect the Sasson report and therefore providing the settlers with the opportunity to claim that they took over privately owned Palestinian lands in order to plant them for a period of time.
But usually, Israel legalizes most of the illegal outposts once the settlers inhibit them and once they are connected with power and water.
The ruling was made by two out of a three-judge panel. It came after an appeal was filed by a settler from Qidumim settlement who occupied Palestinian lands and planted them with trees. In 2007, the settlers fenced the land and connected it with water.
The villagers filed an appeal against the annexation of their lands, which they planted for generations, and the Civil Administration Office, which is under the control of the Israeli military, ordered the settler to leave the land.
It is worth mentioning that the settler did not claim ownership of the land, and just said that he has been using the land since several years.
Meanwhile, Israeli military judges issued several orders to facilitate the illegal land grab and authorized the usage of small pieces of Palestinian lands for agricultural purposes.
The decisions of different military judges, and the recent decision, violate the Sasson report issued by their own government, and are only made to enable the settlers occupy more Palestinian lands.
This is besides that simple fact which states that all Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, not only the random outposts, are illegal under the international law and constitute a war crime.

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