The Road to Dispossession Still in Force in the Occupied Territories

In 2013, the Israeli NGO Yesh Din published a report The Road to Dispossession which deals with the unauthorized outpost of Adei Ad in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and its impact on four nearby Palestinian villages: Turmusaya, Jalud, al-Mughayer and Qaryut. The report describes how the outpost was built on village land, some privately owned by Palestinians, and the illegal actions undertaken to build it.

Occupation authorities supported the outpost’s establishment through funding, infrastructure, defense and more. In addition, the report documents dozens of acts of violence and property damage committed by Israeli civilians, most of them in the agricultural areas adjacent to the outpost, and further focuses on the failure of law enforcement on the offenders, as well as the connection between the violence and the loss of access to land experienced by Palestinian farmers.

The report outlines a continuum that began with the absence of effective law enforcement on Israeli civilians living in the OPT which resulted in the loss of Palestinian landowners’ ability to access and cultivate their land, their ability to achieve a sustainable livelihood from its produce and, ultimately, to the land itself which was stolen when the outpost was expanded.

In 2014, together with residents of Palestinian villages near Adei Ad, Yesh Din filed a petition to the Supreme Court demanding the evacuation of the outpost. The petition, based on the report, presented the Court with a comprehensive picture of the violations of the law and acts of violence in the vicinity of Adei Ad, arguing that, since the outpost continued to constitute a focal point for human rights violations, due to the State’s failure to enforce the law, the unauthorized outpost should be evacuated.

This argument was met with outrageous disregard by the Court. A number of caravans and structures situated on stolen privately-owned Palestinian land have been moved to “state lands,” and the Israeli authorities announced their intention to authorize the outpost. The judges rejected the petition and gave the state nine months to retroactively authorize the outpost.

Now the State intends to authorize the outpost by expanding the jurisdiction of the Amichai settlement (established for evacuees from another unauthorized outpost – Amona). This is a huge jurisdiction which will include an area 2.5 times the built-up area of the Adei Ad outpost.

The outpost, which was established in violation of Israeli law and expanded over the years, and which is harming Palestinians and dispossessing them of their lands, will receive official status as a settlement and its area is expected to grow dramatically.

Yeah Din asks rhetorically: “What have we learned? That the State rewards violence, dispossession, theft and disregard for the law, if you are an Israeli settler, of course. If you are a Palestinian, you have no rights, not even on your own land.”

Related: The Road to Dispossession (download as PDF)