FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
On the 2nd anniversary of the ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Sunday July 9th, 2006, the Israeli Supreme court in Jerusalem will hear two petitions from the West Bank village of Bil’in. This ruling, from 2004 declared that the Israeli Annexation Wall is illegal under international law.
The petitions that will be discussed in the Israeli Supreme Court tomorrow concern the illegal construction of the Matityahu East colonial settlement on the lands of Bil’in, west of the Annexation Wall (HCJ 143/06); the second petition demands an annulment of the declaration which claims that the lands of Bil’in, in Matityahu East, are government property (HCJ 3998/06).
The route of the wall in Bil’in was designed to accommodate an unapproved plan for the expansion of the Matityahu East colonial settlement. The building of the settlement, according to the above-mentioned plan, was carried out illegally. The Bil’in petition challenges the legality of the settlement due to a suspicious transfer of land ownership from the Palestinian village to the Israeli realtors; a sale which involved the Israeli state declaring the territory state land only to later transfer it to private developers.
During the hearing of the petition challenging the route of the wall through Bil’in (HCJ 8414/05), the Israeli state revealed its involvement. An Israeli lawyer signed the sale papers instead of the head of Bil’in village. This was done without the village’s knowledge, and based on the false claim that any Israeli who entered Bil’in would be killed. In addition, it was falsely argued that it was illegal for Israelis to enter Bil’in. The Israeli state alleges that they declared in 1991 that the land, upon which the settlement is built, was to be state property in order to protect the Palestinian man who allegedly sold the land to the contractors.
Despite these claims by the Israeli state, through the process of the petition, the main reasons for these action have been exposed. Through the illegal cooperation with the state, the realtors managed to avoid the lengthy and expensive procedures associated with registering the land as their property. These procedures, which were circumvented, involve careful examinations of land transfer between the buyer and seller. These procedures are done publicly, so that each person from Bil’in who claims to have ownership on the lands, in whole or in part, has the right to object. These procedures often lead to the conclusion that the purchase deal was false, and to the result that the realtors are left without the lands which allegedly it has bought. Despite the history of transferring land in this way, in the case of this sale, the process was avoided.
The Bil’in petitions will be heard at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem at 10:00am. Supporters and journalists are being encouraged to attend the court session.
For more information call
ISM media office 02-2971824
Michael Sfard 054-471-3940 or 03-560-7345