Jerusalem24 – The Israeli Yisrael Al-Youm newspaper revealed that the Civil Administration of the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), has submitted a recommendation to the Israeli government to adopt land settlement protocols in the West Bank instead of the current procedure under the name “Land Surveying and Review”, following the abolition of the settlement legalization law and the suspension of the plan to annex areas in the West Bank to Israel.
This came in response to an interrogation presented by Likud MP Uzi Dayan to COGAT, through which he asked for an explanation of the reluctance to announce lands that had already been surveyed at a time when the Palestinian Authority is working on reclaiming those lands in Area C.
According to the newspaper, the fundamental difference between the two procedures lies in the fact that the settlement of lands is final and absolute and cannot be contested. While the survey is a complex, costly method that extends for years and allows petitions to be submitted to the High Court of Justice, especially by Palestinians and left-wing organizations, against the confiscations of lands.
The newspaper pointed out that the government’s adoption of the land settlement mechanism means limiting and reducing the possibility of “encroaching on Palestinian lands on the one hand and seizing state land on the other hand.”
The Newspaper also added, that the legal status of the lands in the West Bank will be finally determined. All homes in the settlements will be registered in the Land Registry Department, and the accelerated Palestinian efforts to settle and own the lands will be confronted despite the Civil Administration’s surveying them.
Real estate settlement is a process by which a map of the area is drawn, and everyone who claims ownership of it is invited to attend and present documents proving his claim. Then they build a table of claims for everyone who claims ownership of the land, investigate and create a bill of rights that organizes the status of the land and its owners. The bill of rights can be appealed before the settlement judge, and then the land is registered in the name of its owner. This is a final and absolute procedure and cannot be appealed after its completion. The newspaper says.
“against the backdrop of the abolition of the settlement law, and the delay in pushing the deal of the century and imposing sovereignty, it seems that only the land settlement procedures will lead after more than fifty years to a real settlement. The status of the lands in Judea and Samaria and the registration of homes in the settlements in the Land Registry provides a real response to the efforts of the Palestinians in recent years, who have themselves initiated a land settlement procedure. About 600 people work for the Palestinian Authority to settle lands, and in this way they claim ownership of land, including in Area C. Even though it is supposed to be declared state land. ”
The newspaper says that in this way, lands are surveyed and those that have not been cultivated for a long time are declared state land. In this way, Israel declared some 780,000 dunams of Area C land as state land. However, over the years, this method became cumbersome, lengthy, and costly, and led to a wave of objections, appeals, lawsuits, and higher court decisions by private Palestinians and left-wing organizations against declaring the lands as state lands. Today, 106,000 dunams of land have already been surveyed and declared state land.