Outpost deal halted by new dispute
Civil Administration said it stopped the work because it was 'done illegally on state land.'
Work began at the West Bank outpost of Ramat Gilad last Wednesday to implement a deal reached between the state and the settlers, but was aborted later that day.
Under the deal, a few houses built on private land are to be relocated to state land.
The Civil Administration said it stopped the work because it was "done illegally on state land." But Khadr Abu Eid, who lives in the nearby village of Jinspot, says he owns the land, and that the work was stopped after he filed a trespassing complaint with the Israel Police.
The Civil Administration responded that Abu Eid should submit proof of his claim.
Aerial photos that Peace Now obtained from the Civil Administration using the Freedom of Information Law indicate that the land claimed by Abu Eid is privately owned. However, in the past, there have been discrepancies between information obtained by Peace Now and the ownership data used by the Civil Administration.
Villagers said the incident proves the deal won't help them. They also said the "state land" in question actually belongs to Jinspot residents who hadn't yet finished registering it when Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967.
A few families waged a long, expensive legal battle to prove that forgery was used in the process by which Israeli developers "purchased" their land in Ramat Gilad. But despite winning in court, they still can't work their fields.
Peace Now, which petitioned the High Court of Justice against Ramat Gilad and five other outposts, said yesterday that "the disgraceful agreement with the settlers in Ramat Gilad sends a clear message to settlers: All illegal construction is eventually approved."