Palestinians argue in court against Efrat expansion
Locals protest plan to classify 120 hectares of property in the Efrat settlement as state land before High Court of Justice.
Mosque in Abdullah Ibrahim behind houses in West Bank Jewish settlement of Efrat, December 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Palestinians on Wednesday argued before the High Court of Justice that the
state’s plan to classify 120 hectares of property in the Efrat settlement as
state land was discriminatory.
The court held a hearing Wednesday on a
2009 petition against the move by neighboring Palestinians, represented by
attorney Sani Khoury.
He argued to the court that within the 120 hectares
were lots that privately belonged to Palestinians and two that had belonged to
the Jewish National Fund.
But he noted that the state was only
classifying the Palestinian property as state land, but was not doing so to the
The state in turn argued that the issue was whether the
land classification was consistent with the abandoned property regulations under
the former laws of the Ottoman Empire and that the issue of discrimination was
According to Efrat Council head Oded Revivi the land in
question is located on a hill called Eitam that was part of the original plans
for the settlement drawn in 1983.
Most of the land has not been
cultivated and is located outside the settlement’s builtup barrier. Residents of
Efrat, however, have built a farm on some of the JNF land.
initial plans – which have yet to be processed or approved – to build 2,500
housing units there.
Revivi said that the land has been classified as
state land under the Ottoman Empire, but that it now needed to be
The civil administration, he said, began that process in
2000, during which time the Palestinians filed nine appeals, eight of which they
lost, according to Revivi.
They did win one appeal, and those hectares
were removed from the parcel that the state is looking to classify, he
Once the military appeal process was exhausted, he said, the
Palestinians then turned to the HCJ with the claim of
Khoury could not be reached for comment.