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Israel: Law on the Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria

(Feb. 16, 2017) On February 6, 2017, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, passed a law for the regulation of settlements on land in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).  (Law on Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria, 5777-2017, SEFER HAHUKIM [BOOK OF LAWS, SH] (the official gazette) No. 2604 p. 394 at 410 (Feb. 13, 2017), available at Ministry of Justice website (scroll to issue no. 2604).)  The land in Judea and Samaria subject to regulation is defined as that on which Israeli settlements were built “in good faith” or “with the consent of the state.”  (Id. § 3.)

The law provides for registration of land ownership under the name of the government official in charge if ownership has not otherwise been identified.  (Id. § 3(1).)  Additionally, it provides for the expropriation of the rights to use and possession of privately owned land in the region.  Such expropriation will be in effect until a political resolution on the status of the West Bank is achieved.  (Id. § 3(2).)  Landowners whose property rights have been affected will be compensated monetarily or by grant of alternative land.  (Id. § 8.)

The law provides for the establishment of an assessment committee for the determination of the appropriate value of the use of privately owned land expropriated in accordance with the law’s provisions, after hearing the owner’s claims.  (Id. § 9.)  The law further requires the establishment of an appellate committee to review appeals of decisions made by the assessment committee.  (Id. § 10.)

With effect from the date of publication, the law suspends all pending administrative orders for the evacuation and destruction of settlements subject to regulation until the expiration of such orders upon the completion of planning procedures for land subject to regulation under the law’s provisions.  The suspension and expiration requirement does not apply to orders issued for the implementation of judicial decrees or court decisions.  (Id. §§ 6-7.)  An appendix to the law lists 16 specific settlements for which all pending enforcement and administrative orders must be suspended and authorizes the Minister of Justice, with the approval of the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee, to add additional settlements to this list by means of a decree.  (Id. § 11 & Appendix.)