Israeli Ministers to Vote on Allowing Jews to Purchase West Bank Land Plots

The measure aims to amend a law that entitles only Jordanian or Arab citizens to buy property in the occupied territory

File photo: New homes near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, 2014.
REUTERS

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will consider a bill on Sunday that would allow Jews to acquire land rights in the West Bank.

The explanatory notes to the bill, which is sponsored by MK Bezalel Smotrich (Habayit Hayehudi), say that the current situation is based on a 1953 Jordanian law, which prevented anyone from buying land in the West Bank unless they were Jordanian citizens or citizens of another Arab country. That law remained in force after Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War.

In the early 1970s, a way was found to circumvent the law and allow Jews to buy land there via a special order stating that anybody could buy land through a company registered in the West Bank, regardless of who owned the company. That enabled Jews to set up companies registered in the West Bank and use them to buy land.

Smotrich’s bill aims to eliminate this disparity and simply state that anyone can buy land in the West Bank. The fact that an Israeli currently can’t buy land there “just because he is an Israeli is unacceptable,” the explanatory notes continued.

“Therefore, this legislation proposes that any person be entitled to acquire land rights in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank], as is the norm in most countries around the world."