Palestinians owning Jordan Valley land that was appropriated by the military and given to settlers should enter compensation talks with the settlers, the High Court of Justice said, offering an unusual solution to the problem.
The court hopes the negotiations will preclude the need to rule on the Palestinians’ petition to have the settlers evicted.
Justices Esther Hayut, Isaac Amit and Menachem Mazuz ruled that the state, settlers and Palestinians each had until July 30 to submit documents with an appraisal of the land in order to launch the compensation talks.
After the Israeli occupation of the West Bank began in 1967, the army issued an order prohibiting Palestinians from entering the area between the border fence and the Jordan River. At the beginning of the ‘80s, the government decided to encourage farmers to work the fields to create a buffer zone with Jordan. The World Zionist Organization was given the land and leased it to settlers.
In early 2013, local Palestinians sued, demanding that the settlers be expelled so they could get their land back. The Palestinians argue that by letting the settlers farm there, Israel is proving that the land need not lie empty as a closed military zone.
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