The Israeli government on Monday submitted its response to the petition against the Regulation Law, asking the High Court of Justice to reject petitions issued by Arabs and leftwing NGOs. “The Regulation Act balances the obligation of government toward thousands of citizens who relied in good faith on governmental activity versus a minor infringement of property rights, with increased compensation to the landowners,” the response stated.
The government’s response was submitted by attorney Harel Arnon, after Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit had refused to represent the government in this case.
The Regulation Act concerning claims against Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria was passed by the Knesset in February 2017.
On Wednesday, Ha’aretz published an addendum by the IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, which had been submitted by the government along with its response. According to this document, within the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria there are 3,455 homes and public buildings which could be saved by the Regulation Act.
These 3,455 structures fall into three categories: 1,285 were built on unquestionably Arab private land over the past twenty years, and have been served with demolition orders; 1,048 were built on state land, and a later “redrawing” of property lines (the “thick blue line” fiasco) turned them from legal to illegal; 1,122 structures have been in place for more than 20 years, before any planning laws were being enforced in Judea and Samaria.
According to the new law, an unprecedented generous payment (120% of market value) or alternative land will be granted to the proven owners of the land under these 3,455 structures.
In its response, the government argued that the law meets the criteria of both international and Israeli law, providing a humane, reasonable and adequate response to the distress of Israeli residents who built their homes with the support of government agencies over the years. It also gives Arab landowners the opportunity to receive adequate compensation for their rights. The law remedies the untenable situation of Arab landowners, which originated in the racist legislation of the Palestinian Authority, which imposes the death penalty on Arabs who sell land to Jews.
The government also told the court that preventing the evacuation of thousands of Israeli families through the Arrangement Act is a national, social, political and human interest of the highest order. It added that it believes the honorable court would be able to maintain its judicial restraint when examining the new legislation.
That’s code for, let’s not start a war between the two branches of government which you could end up losing.