The below article is from Ha’aretz Newspaper 9th July 2013 — Regavim have added comments where necessary to explain or clear up a possible misunderstaning of the text
The West Bank Land Registry has been marked classified for more than four decades; the dramatic June 26 decision is likely to ease settlement expansion.
By Chaim Levinson, Jul.09, 2013
Forty-six years after the West Bank Land Registry was marked classified and closed off to the public, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered the state to give settlers information on the identities of Palestinians who own land near settlements. The dramatic June 26 decision will likely ease settlement expansion. [Under Jordanian Law it was also classified]
Inside the Green Line, one can learn the identity of owners of housing units or land for a NIS 10 fee. But in the West Bank, outside the Green Line, this information has been secret and classified. Only a person with a “link to the land” could make a request from the Civil Administration in Beit El, and obtain the needed information from the Land Registry. Those without such a “link” had to get the information from people in the Palestinian villages or sources in the Civil Administration. [“Link to the land” is a racially prejudicial term which led to racially prejudicial laws and was/is a euphemism for Arab]
The Civil Administration had a policy of keeping the Land Registry classified for several reasons. First, it allowed them to learn whether a Palestinian had sold his land to an Israeli, which is a capital offense in the Palestinian Authority. [Why would the CA want to know if an Arab sold land to a Jew because such an action is a capital offence in the Palestinian Authority??] Also, there is a widespread phenomenon of forged land transactions in the West Bank. Taking advantage of the partial listings and the fact that many Palestinians are in Jordan or the United States, the offenders forge the owners’ signatures. [Exactly why it should not be secret or classified so as to stop forgeries etc.]
Last year, the settlement of Psagot and the non-profit organization Regavim, whose stated mission is to protect Israel’s lands and properties, petitioned the court for information on the identities of landowners in the settlement and the hill adjacent to it. The petitioners claimed that they wanted the information so they could “buy more land near the settlement for development and expansion. The land is wilderness that has no value aside from being included in the settlement.” They claimed that they had a “link to the land” because they lived in close proximity to it.
Psagot was founded in 1978 on Palestinian land that was seized “for military purposes.” This was outlawed in the Elon Moreh High Court ruling of October 22, 1979, when the High Court of Justice ruled that land could not be seized for military purposes and settlements built on it. There are tracts of Palestinian-owned land in Psagot …read more