Deir Istiya Informed of Colonial Land Confiscation from Newspaper
4 November 2015
Israel notoriously creates and expands settlements all over the occupied West Bank in contravention of international law. Not only is this blatant colonisation of Palestine and land theft from Palestinians legally and morally wrong, it is a major barrier to peace. The Israeli government authorises and encourages the expansion of many settlements, but some have been built without official Israeli authorisation.
Although all Israeli settlements are illegal according to international law and the international community, these unauthorized outposts are also contravening Israeli law. To prevent the courts from ordering demolitions, Israel retroactively “legalizes” them by adding them as neighborhoods of an existing settlement.
In the village of Deir Istiya landowners and town officials spotted a notice in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds on the 2nd of November 2015 that a land confiscation order had been issued for the area to the east and west of the illegal settlement of Yaqir. including the illegal outpost Yaqir Farm to the south.
No official notice had been sent to landowners or the municipality. The order covers a calculated area of 3,500 dunams (approximately 865 acres), now owned by up to 1000 Palestinian families (this land has been split up over generations as inherited land in Palestine is divided equally amongst the children).
There are 351 illegal residential units already on this land with a further 210 units to be rebuilt- most likely temporary outpost buildings to be converted to permanent properties.
Landowners have 15 days from the date of the publication of the notice to contest the decision. The notice in the Al Quds newspaper stated the order would come into force on 17 November. Research for this article revealed that the decision was made in mid October, and was publicised in Israeli media on the 30 of October. http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2015/10/30/israel-legalises-hundreds-of-west-bank-settler-houses Any objections to Israeli settlement expansion plans seem to be useless. A well informed Palestinian source claims preparations for the work is already in place. However, villagers refuse to believe that the battle is lost and are considering their response.
As internationals you can take action by making sure the injustice of illegal land theft is publicised widely, and demand that your elected representatives pressure Israel to abide by international law.
As an individual you can also have an impact by joining the BDS movement http://www.bdsmovement.net/ which aims to achieve freedom and justice for Palestinians.