Basic Information on the Status of Land in Judea and Samaria
Classification of lands in the area
The legal framework that applies to Judea and
Accordingly, the lands of Judea and
Mulk land – This is privately owned land, defined in advance as parcels of land designated for construction. Land of this type can be found within the boundaries of villages and towns, and is considered private property for all intents and purposes, similar to movables and other assets.
Miri land – This is state-owned land transferred to an individual for the purpose of cultivation. Land of this kind is situated mainly in the areas surrounding villages and towns, up to a range of 2.5 kilometers from the edge of the community, as it was in 1858. Although these lands are owned by the state, exclusive rights to them may be granted to individuals cultivating them via registration in the land registry.
Mewat – This is “dead” land, which generally includes uncultivated and open areas, distant from the community and its environs. This land is state owned.
Additionally, Judea and
During the British Mandate, the government launched a national project to map out and register the status of all the land in Eretz
The status of those areas that were dealt with is perfectly clear and orderly, and all rights, whether of an individual or the state, are properly registered and documented. On the other hand, the areas that were not mapped and registered require an in-depth examination of the status of the land in order to ascertain whether it can indeed be designated as state land. Accordingly, state land is land for which no claim of private ownership has been proved.
The process of declaring state lands
When the government decides to establish a Jewish community, it carries out a meticulous process aimed at analyzing the true status of the land. In those areas where the land was mapped and registered, the examination is a fairly simple procedure because the records are relatively orderly and systematic. In those areas where the land was not classified, the practice of the Civil Administration is to hold a formal and prolonged declaration process aimed at ascertaining the status of the land beyond all doubt before authorizing planning and development. This procedure involves three stages:
At the first stage, aerial photographs from different periods are analyzed in order to establish that the land was not cultivated or settled at any time.
At the second stage, a painstaking tour of the land is carried out in order to uncover evidence of cultivation or any other use of the land, which could indicate the creation of a right of use of the land.
After these stages, the Civil Administration approaches the local Mukhtar and asks him to publicize the intent to declare the land state land. At this stage, those with claims are invited to petition the appeal committee and present any evidence that the land involved is privately owned.
In most cases, the examination carried out in accordance with the two first stages is very rigorous and meticulous and the appeals turn out to be unfounded. Nevertheless, in every case of an appeal, the examination process is restarted in order to once again ascertain the facts.
Data on the types of lands
Of the 5.5 million dunams (5,500 square kilometers or 2,120 square miles) – the entire territory of Judea and Samaria – about 123,000 dunams are privately owned Jewish land (purchased before 1948 or after 1967), 1.9 million dunams are state lands (registered as such in the Turkish land registry or declared state land by Israel) and 1.9 million dunams are unregistered land or privately owned Arab land. The rest is nature reserves and brush land of different types.
How the Jewish communities were established
When examining the manner in which the Jewish communities were established, it is important to distinguish between two main periods: until 1979, mainly under the Labor government, and from 1979 on, under the Likud government.
Because the Labor party (then known as the Alignment) viewed
However, after the political upheaval of 1977 that brought the Likud to power, and in wake of the petition to the High Court of Justice in the matter of Elon Moreh and Beit El, this approach underwent a significant change. The Likud, which viewed Judea and
From this time forward, all land allocated to Jewish settlements underwent an orderly declaration process and was authorized for construction only after it had been proved beyond any doubt that there were no valid claims of private ownership.