The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported more than one-third of the 122 West Bank settlements were built on land confiscated from private Palestinian owners on security grounds, including some ereced after the Israel Supreme Court outlawed such seizures thee decades ago. Settlement critics maintain international law only allows seizure of occupied territory to meet military needs. In 1979, the Supreme Court declared illegal the proces of seizing private property on grounds of military security and then turning the land over to settlers.
Haaretz maintains the data “proves that systematic land theft for the purpose of establishing settlements was carried out via a fictitious and completely illegal use of the term military necessity.” The Haaretz article confirms claims by Peace Now that about one-third of the land on which settlements stand was seized from private Palestinian owners. The Israel Defense Ministry refuses to release such information on ground it might “damage the state’s security.” In other words, the Defense Ministry doesn’t want the world to know how they violated their own and international law.
The people of Israel can be proud one of their own newspapers revealed the story of land seizure. It proves once again that Israel is a democratic society. Unfortunately, many democratic societies have leaders who are guilty of undemocratic actions.
Perhaps, as part of a peace settlement with Palestinians, the one-third of land seized can be returned to Palestinians and they should be allowed to obtain housing that sits on their own land.