The head of the council of Palestinian village of Jalud and human rights group Yesh Din filed a petition the High Court of Justice, demanding the court instruct proceedings for the demarcation of settlement jurisdictions be made public and transparent and include a public consultation process prior to jurisdiction declarations. The petition also seeks to revoke the jurisdiction allocated for the new settlement of Amichai. Petitioners submitted to Court two archived documents uncovered by Akevot.
The petitioners submitted to Court a document recently uncovered by Akevot Institute, which reveals that in 1981, a decision was made to designate all public land in the West Bank for Israeli local and regional councils. The document, written in February 1981 and entitled, “Inclusion of state land, Jewish-owned land and acquired land in the jurisdiction of regional councils”, says the jurisdictions of Israeli councils will include all such lands in the area of the councils, as well as land in the possession of the supervisor of abandoned and governmental property, including absentee property
The petitioners have also submitted a 1980 Legal Opןnion by then-Attorney General Yizhak Zamir. The Opinion deals with the legality of using expropriated private Palestinian land for Israeli settlements. This document was recently submitted to the High Court by petitioners against the Regulation Law.
Akevot has provided the documents to the petitioners as part of its programme of assisting human rights defenders with archival records of relevance to their work.
In their petition, Jalud council head and Yesh Din emphasize that designating public land to the jurisdiction of settlements or regional councils has a tremendous impact on the lives of Palestinian residents, and violates their fundamental human rights. Palestinians are barred from entering Israeli settlements and jurisdictions and from using many roads inside them. Palestinian land is often trapped in enclaves that can only be accessed with special permits and prior coordination, and such access often involves altercations with settlement residents and security personnel. The petition argues that decisions regarding the demarcation of Israeli councils’ jurisdictional boundaries are made behind closed doors without informing the public, which precludes any advance knowledge of planned expansions or new jurisdictions for existing or new settlements, despite the fact that such jurisdictions often include privately owned Palestinian land that has been seized for military needs or expropriated for public use.