Lands declared as state land in Nahhalin village for future settlement expansion

Lands declared as state land in Nahhalin village for future settlement expansion

Daher Nassar, a Christian Arab, immigrated to Palestine from Lebanon at the beginning of last century with his family. He settled in Bethlehem where his ambition was to build a new life as a landowner. He managed to purchase a piece of land with an area of 400 dunums (40 hectares), south of Bethlehem city along the Hebron road and in one of the most fertile lands in the district. He registered the land in 1924 and since then is paying its taxes. See Map 1



The location of Nassar's land as well as Nahhalin village is located in the so-called Gush Etzion settlement block and is surrounded by four settlements; five hundred meters to the north lies Neve Daniel settlement, equidistance to the south is Eliazar, to the west is the Ultra Orthodox settlement of Betar Illit and to the east is the rapidly-expanding settlement of Efrat. This block is basically supported by religious Jews who consider the block to be a part of (Metropolitan Jerusalem plan).



Licenses for access to water, electricity and permits for construction have been consistently denied. The family has suffered numerous acts of persecution by the settlers from the surrounding settlements. In addition, vandalism on the land, trees, equipment and buildings as well as personal physical attacks has been recorded. Israeli soldiers have also prevented them on several occasions to work in their land and were threatened to continue doing their work.    

In 1990, a military order was issued to demolish two small buildings used by the family for storage as they were constructed without permits. This attempt was successfully blocked by the family as they got the necessary papers and permits later on.    In October 1991, Israeli surveying teams came to the land for ambiguous reasons, and one month later the Israeli government declared 300 dunums of the original 420 dunums as a (state land). The reason behind this action was to transfer the land for expanding the Israeli settlement of Neve Daniel. See copy of military order.

Military order No 88/91 declaring 300 dunums of Nassar's land as a state land

The Nassar family made an appeal to the committee designated by the Israeli military authorities as an advisory committee of a judicial nature that discusses petitions against the decisions of the military authorities to declare land as belonging to the state. The appeal (1& 2 )was rejected on January 29, 2002    in spite of the fact that the owners possessed land registration documents (TABU) whichprove that the land is that family belonging. 

The next step was that the family appealed to the supreme court of Israel against the decision. The appeal was to be heard on February 5th 2003, while the Supreme Court decided to delay this appeal till April 27th 2003. The declaration of private land as (state land) is a very common policy used by the Israeli Authorities in order to grab the Palestinian land under (legal) pretense.The appellants presented conclusive evidence of ownership, and that the transfer of their land to nearby settlements contradicts with the international law and international conventions.   

Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem



Categories: Military Orders