A-G to rule on use of ‘abandoned property law’ to save Amona outpost

Jpost Reports-

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblitt is set to rule by the end of August on whether the Defense Ministry use the abandoned property law to save the West Bank outpost of Amona.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman is hoping a new interpretation of the law can be found, which would allow the state to seize Palestinian property that had been abandoned for decades.

If Mandelblitt authorizes such a move, then the Defense Ministry could legalize for construction a plot of land close to the existing site of the Amona outpost, which is located on the outskirts of the Ofra settlement.

The High Court of Justice ruled in 2014 that the IDF must raze the outpost by the end of this year because it is built without permits on private Palestinian property.

It issued that verdict in response to a petition by the Palestinian landowners who live in the nearby village of Silwad.

The state had initially wanted to relocate the 40 modular homes to a nearby plot of land that could be legalized. It’s a compromise solution that it has successfully used to avoid conflict in other cases in which the HCJ has rule that an outpost on private Palestinian property must be taken down.

In 2012, the Defense Minister relocated both the Migron and the Ulpana outposts in that manner.

But there is not enough state property in that area to support a viable community.

The Amona residents have insisted that they will not leave their homes and will not consider a relocation plan that takes them away from the Ofra settlement. They refused a state offer of legalized lots in the Shiloh settlement.

Right-wing politicians then proposed sweeping legislation that would have dealt with all of the over 2,000 instances in which unauthorized settler homes were built on private Palestinian property.

The legislation, a revamped version of the failed outpost bill in 2012, offered to compensate the Palestinian property owners for the loss of their land.

But Mandelblitt ruled that such legislation is unconstitutional.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked [Bayit Yehudi] flirted with the idea of bring the bill for approval before the Ministerial Legislative Committee anyway.

She had hoped placing it before the Knesset plenum for a first reading, in the last hours before legislators left the building for the summer session.

The Knesset reopens for legislative matters only at the end of October.

But a bureaucratic glitch made it impossible to fast-track the legislation.

Politicians have now placed their hope on Mandelblitt, even though legal experts in the past have frowned on the use of the abandoned property law in this way.

The most famous of them, attorney Plia Albeck, who died in 2005, had argued settlements could not be legalized in this way. Her opinion is taken seriously, the legal construction of Jewish communities in Area C of the West Bank, is based in large part on her legal interpretations.

Even if Mandelblitt approves the use of the abandoned property law, it is unclear if Amona residents would accept that compromise.

First built in 1995, with the help of NIS 2.1 million from the Ministry of Housing and Construction, Amona is among the oldest of the West Bank outposts.

It is most famous for the violent clashes that took place there between security forces and right-wing activists in 2006, when the IDF demolished nine permanent stone homes that had just been built in Amona.

The outpost residents believe that since they moved there with initial informal nodes from officials, that the government now has a responsibility to authorize their homes in its present location.

“The responsibility for this lies with the Prime Minister, the Defense Minster, the Justice Minister and the rest of the politicians,” the campaign to save Amona said upon hearing that votes on a legislative solution had once again been deferred.

“If that doesn’t happen we plan to wage a stiff battle for our homes,” the campaign said.

About johnmhummasti

Was the victim of Human Rights Abuses (e.g. Hummasti v Bell, 98-3651-JTC) while a patient in the custody of the US Attorney General and hospitalized under 18 USC 4241 through 4244, et seq.! Interests: Biblical Studies, Talmudic Studies, Dead Sea (Yam Melek [Sea of Kings Soferim]) Scrolls, Scribal (Stam Sofer) Traditions, Cantorial (Hazzan) Psalms (Tehillim). Illustrated Calligraphy (e.g. Ketuvim [Jewish Marriage Contracts], Poetry). Self Published Manuscripts and Screen Plays at yhummastiscribd web site:
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