Settlements "Violate Israeli Law"

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Settlements "Violate Israeli Law"
By: BBC News
21 November 2006
 

More than a third of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank are built on privately owned Palestinian land, an Israeli campaign group has reported.

Peace Now says nearly 40% of the land the settlements sit on is, according to official data, "effectively stolen" from Palestinian landowners.

This, the group says, is a violation of Israel’s own laws.

Settlements in the occupied West Bank are illegal under international law, although Israel rejects this.

About 430,000 Jews live in these residential areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Leaked data

Peace Now called on the Israeli government to return the private land to its Palestinian owners.

In recent years the Israeli government has said repeatedly that it respects Palestinian property rights in the West Bank.

An Israeli official has said the government is reviewing the report.

The data on which the findings are based comes from a 2004 survey by the Civil Administration, which manages the civilian aspects of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The data was leaked to Peace Now via an official in the Civil Administration. The group says the government had refused to give this information to it.

The group says that the data it has received has been "hidden by the State for many years, for fear that the revelation of these facts could damage its international relations".

According to the report, 86.4% of the Maale Adumim settlement block, the largest in the West Bank, is built on private Palestinian land, and not on what the Israeli government refers to as "state land".

The settlement is home to 32,372 people and lies due east of Jerusalem.

’Violation’ of Israeli law

"The claim by the State and settlers that the settlements have been constructed on stat

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