(12 November 2017) BADIL releases Working Paper No. 21 on Land Confiscation and Denial of Use

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BADIL has published Working Paper No. 21 on Land Confiscation and Denial of Use, as part of its ten-paper series on Forced Population Transfer: The Case of Palestine.

This Working Paper sheds light on the root causes of the ongoing forced population transfer of Palestinians from their ancestral homes and homelands. The policy of land confiscation and denial of use and access has been used by Israel as a tool of displacement since the 1948 Nakba to the present day. This Paper identifies the main mechanisms of land confiscation and denial of use employed in Mandate Palestine, which are reinforced by a complex, multidimensional legal system that justifies the confiscation of Palestinian lands, while also circumventing responsibilities and stipulations of international law. While the report documents individual experiences of land confiscation, it aims to illustrate how these examples are situated within a broader system of Israeli settler-colonialism and discrimination, resulting in the forced displacement of Palestinians. 

The Paper analyzes the policy of land confiscation on both sides of the Green Line by focusing on four specific case studies. In Jaffa, the vast majority of properties have fallen into the hands of the government and quasi-governmental companies, which continue to play a crucial role in implementing coercive policies that pressure Palestinians to leave. In the ‘unrecognized village’ of al-Araqib, Palestinian Bedouin residents suffer from forced displacement vis-à-vis home demolitions, and Israeli forestation projects. In the West Bank village of Deir Istiya, residents have fallen victim to policies of denial of use and access to land, due to Israel’s construction of by-pass roads, and acts of violence committed by settlers in nearby colonies. The final case study explores the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, where Palestinian properties are confiscated through Israel’s manipulation of the 1950 Absentee Property Law as well as its establishment of national parks in the area. These case studies and accompanying testimonies exemplify the ways in which Israeli policies and legal mechanisms of land confiscation continue to play out on the ground.

Ultimately, policies of land confiscation and denial of use exist as a way to implement an overall vision of forcibly transferring Palestinians from their homes, and replacing them with Jewish-Israelis. Whether through the direct forced displacement of residents when their homes are located on confiscated land, or indirectly due to pressure to leave the area, Israel maintains its commitment to removing Palestinians from Mandate Palestine. Furthermore, these policies deny the right to reparations for refugees and IDPs. It remains crucial to analyze Israeli policies of land confiscation and denial of use through a rights-based approach, as Palestinians are denied from exercising their ownership rights guaranteed by international law, and deprived of their homes and livelihoods, despite their continual presence on their rightfully-owned lands that are incrementally shrinking.
Download the PDF version of this Working Paper.
To get a hard copy of the Denial of Access to Natural Resources and Services Working Paper, please contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About the series:
This Series of Working Papers on forced population transfer is intended to encourage debate, and to stimulate discussion and critical comment. Together, and drawing upon desk and field-based research, these papers will identify and explore the key components of Israel’s policies and mechanisms of forcible transfer of the Palestinian population. Specifically, BADIL has identified the following components:
Denial of Residency
Discriminatory Zoning and Planning
Installment of a Permit Regime
Suppression of Resistance
Denial of Access to Natural Resources and Services
- Land Confiscation and Denial of Use
- Institutionalized Discrimination and Segregation
- Denial of Reparation (return/repatriation, property restitution, compensation and non-repetition of violations)
- Non-state actions (with the implicit consent of the Israeli state)