Watchdog fears seizure of more land in West Bank

Palestinian protesters hurl stones at Israeli troops during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Qadomem, in the West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus on Thursday, November 17, 2017. (REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Updated 18 November 2017
0

Watchdog fears seizure of more land in West Bank

JERUSALEM: An Israeli settlement watchdog has denounced a legal opinion by the attorney general (AG), saying it could pave the way for the seizure of more Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said in a legal opinion that Israel could, in certain circumstances, confiscate private Palestinian land for the benefit of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.
Settlement watchdog Peace Now denounced the development in a statement.
“It appears that the AG is attempting to remove the last legal (and moral) barrier on the road to turn theft and expulsion into a formal way of establishing settlements in the occupied territories,” it said.
Peace Now and other observers said Mandelblit’s opinion, which was made public on Wednesday, breaks with former positions on the confiscation of private Palestinian land for state use.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 in a move never recognized by the international community.
Its settlements are deemed illegal under international law and widely seen as the main obstacle to peace.
Mandelblit’s legal opinion is tied to Haresha, an “illegal outpost” west of the city of Ramallah, on the West Bank, said Peace Now.
It said the attorney general “seeks to approve the confiscation of private Palestinian lands in order to legalize an access road” to Haresha.
“Confiscating the land would constitute a severe violation of international humanitarian law and of the Palestinians’ right to own property.
“The AG’s legal opinion regarding the access road might lead to additional confiscations of private Palestinian lands,” and could “strengthen Israel’s hold over Palestinian territory,” said Peace Now.
Mandelblit issued his opinion after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a staunch supporter of settlements, urged him to reconsider an earlier legal opinion concerning the road leading to the Haresha outpost.
International law sees all Israel’s West Bank settlements as illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it sanctions and those it does not.
More than 600,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem among 2.9 million Palestinians, with frequent outbreaks of violence.


Libya seeks UN help as militia fighting kills 10

Updated 23 September 2018
0

Libya seeks UN help as militia fighting kills 10

  • Libya’s internationally recognized government has called on the UN to take “concrete and effective” action to protect civilians and halt the fighting.

BENGHAZI: The latest bout of fighting between rival militias in the capital Tripoli has left 10 people dead.

The medical authorities said 59 people were also wounded when fighting erupted the previous day, taking the death toll to 106 since armed conflict first began there late last month. Friday’s fighting further strained a cease-fire that has been in force since Sept. 4. They said a total of 18 people remain missing.

Libya’s internationally recognized government has called on the UN to take “concrete and effective” action to protect civilians and halt the fighting. The Government of National Accord (GNA) called on the UN mission to “present the Security Council with the reality of the bloody events in Libya so that it can ... protect the lives and property of civilians”.

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that overthrew longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi and led to his death. It’s governed by rival authorities, based in Tripoli and the country’s east, each backed by an array of militias.