Exploitation of the occupied Palestinian territories by Israel and its annexation

Since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 on more than 80% of the legal lands of Palestine, Israel has been working hard to annex and seize the lands from the Palestinian citizens.

before this Israelis owned no more than 8% bought with forged documents during the Ottoman Empire.

After that, it attempted to displace thousands of Palestinian citizens by initiating multiple massacres, which terrified the citizens and pushed them to migrate to what was later known as the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria, leaving behind their lands and possessions. These lands were estimated at 80% of the total area of Palestine.

Since 1967, that is, after Israel occupied the West Bank, the Israeli governments worked hard to build and expand the settlements, whether in terms of expanding their area or increasing their population.

As a result of this policy, today about half a million Israeli settlers with Israeli citizenship live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, not including the settlements in the Gaza Strip. The approximate number of settlements in 150 settlements and dozens of camps that lie in vast areas.

In the first decade of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Labor Party governments worked under the “Alon Plan”, which recommends building settlements in areas of “security importance” that have a low Palestinian population, such as the Jordan Valley, parts of the Hebron mountains, Jerusalem and its suburbs.

As the Likud party came to power in 1977, the government began building settlements throughout the West Bank, especially in areas condensed with Palestinians, on mountaintops, and in areas west of the Ramallah-Nablus line. This policy has both security and ideological motives.

Building settlements in the West Bank is a violation of international humanitarian law, which stipulates the laws and regulations applicable in times of war and occupation, and it is a violation of human rights recognized under international law, as well as the International humanitarian law that prevents the occupying country from transferring its citizens to the areas it has occupied (Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).

In addition, the Hague Regulations prohibit the occupying entity from making permanent changes to the occupied territories, except for changes necessary for military needs or for the benefit of the local population.

The construction of settlements and the establishment of Israeli factories and military installations on Palestinian lands infringe upon the rights of Palestinians, as stipulated in international human rights law.

The right to self-determination, the right to equality, the right to property, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to freedom of movement are also violated.

Israel has adopted various methods to annex and seize lands, including a tortuous judicial mechanism through which it seized more than 50% of the area of the West Bank, and this is to build settlements and prepare reserves in case it became necessary to expand them.

Announcing the lands as state lands and registering them as such is the main way to seize lands.

This procedure began in 1979 and was based on the Ottoman Land Law of 1858, which was in force since the beginning of the occupation.

Other methods that Israel uses are based on a judicial basis is by declaring areas as military zones, declaring them as abandoned property, and confiscating land for public needs.

In addition, Israel deliberately assisted individual settlers in purchasing lands from Palestinian citizens collaborating with the occupation.

The confiscation of land was carried out in violation of the basic laws or any fair procedure. In many cases, the Palestinians did not know that their lands had been registered in the name of the state, and when they knew that, the date for submitting their objection had passed.

Moreover, Palestinians are the ones who have to prove to own these lands, not the opposite, and even if the owner of the land succeeded in proving his ownership of the land, in some cases, the state claims to register it under the name of the settler in good faith!!

All of these methods achieve one goal: to seize the land and eliminate the Palestinian presence in it. Therefore, the way the ownership of land is transferred from Palestinians to Israelis is secondary. In addition, since the goal is illegal according to international law, (ie the construction of settlements and camps), the achievement of this goal is illegal.

The Israeli judiciary, including the High Court of Justice, helped to create a mechanism for the confiscation of land and contributed to creating a legal system for these procedures.

Initially, the High Court of Justice accepted the state’s claim of urgent military needs and allowed the state to confiscate land owned by Palestinian residents for the establishment of these settlements.

The High Court of Justice refused to intervene to prevent the lands from being declared state land.

In the middle of 2021, and due to successive Israeli policies, more than 75% of the West Bank became confiscated lands to build settlements and camps, according to the Palestinian Statistics Center, which means that the entire West Bank is under almost complete geographical control of the occupation.

Given this update, Palestinian population have become Geographically isolated and disconnected from cities, villages, and camps, which made their life extremely difficult at all levels.

This weird situation requires international efforts and unity to stand against these crimes and to bring it to an end, otherwise, we may face a situation similar to what happened to the American Indians in the United States of America and South America.

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