Israel Urged Not to Use Palestinian Land-grab Law Until Court Rules on Legality

In response to petition, Israeli attorney general also calls not to demolish homes in settlements built on Palestinian land and which the law applies to.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, listens to cabinet secretary Avichai Mendelblit during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office, Nov. 16, 2014.
Gali Tibbon, AP

Attorney General Avichai Mendelbit recommends not carrying any expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank under the controversial new law allowing the expropriation of privately-owned land in settlements in return for compensation, until the High Court of Justice decides whether to issue an order freezing the use of the law.

In practice, Mendelblit proposed that Palestinian land not be expropriated under the new law; while at the same time demolition orders will not be carried out against existing homes in settlements that could be legalized under the auspices of the law until the High Court reaches a decision on issuing an interim order.

In his response to the High Court, filed by the State Prosecutor’s Office, Mendelblit repeated his opinion that the law, passed by the Knesset in early February, is unconstitutional and the court should rule accordingly. Because of Mendelblit’s objections to the so-called “Regularization Law,” or officially the law to “regulate settlement in Judea and Samaria and allow its continued establishment and development,” the government has appointed a private attorney, Harel Arnon, to represent it in the case.

Arnon will be paid 140,000 shekels ($38,000) for representing the government, according to documents obtained by Haaretz.

A number of Palestinian local authorities in the West Bank filed the petition against the law, as well as Palestinian land owners and a number of left-wing organizations, including Yesh Din, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Peace Now and Adalah - the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.