“Built on Private Palestinian Land” The Israeli Government Procrastinating the Evacuation of Derech Ha’avot Illegal Outpost

“Built on Private Palestinian Land” 
The Israeli Government Procrastinating  the Evacuation of Derech Ha’avot  Illegal Outpost

'It was decided to launch a survey process to determine weather the lands of 'Derech Ha'avot' are State Lands … If the process should reveal that the buildings – all or part of them – are on State Land, then their authorization will be considered. Buildings that will be found built on Private Lands – their demolition orders will be executed, according to the priorities' . The Israeli State Prosecutor addressing on the Israeli Supreme court deliberations) May 2010.

On June 22, 2015 , the Israeli “Supreme Court” , and after 12 years of Arduous deliberations , issued its ruling in which it considered the 17 structures (out of 60) were built in the illegal outpost of Derech Ha’avot,  on private Palestinian land. Therefore , the court ordered the related Israeli authorities to demolish the aforementioned structures soon.

As a matter of fact all the 60 structures that constitute the illegal outpost of Derech Ha’avot are illegal, not only the aforementioned 17 structures. Israel used to claim that the lands classified as “State Land” fall under the guardianship of its government.

In actual fact , the term 'State Land' and upon its legal definition narrated in the Israeli Basic law of Israel lands, falls under lands owned by the state of Israel or by the Development Authority, or Keren Kayemet Le-Israel. This law have been set by the Israeli Knesset in year 1960, and no amendment was made on it pre or after the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

 Thereby the Israeli claims whether lands of 'Derech Ha'avot' are 'State Lands' or not,  has no legal basses for such survey, as lands in question are not within the internationally recognized  boundary of Israel, and no legal amendments were made on re-defining the Palestinian occupied territory as part of Israel lands.

Arial photo for the illegal outpost of Derech Ha’avot

Derech Ha’avot is an illegal Israeli outpost was established in February 2001. It’s located north of the illegal settlement of El’zar in Gush Etzion settlement bloc, at the west part of Bethlehem Governorate. More than 17 structures were built on private Palestinian lands owned by local residents from the nearby Palestinian town of Al-Khader.

Currently, there are 60 houses and structures in the site of the outpost : 22 caravans, 12 of which faced with stone , 5 concrete structures , 6 containers, watch security tower, water tower , stone fencing in addition of all important adequate infrastructure…. 

It is worth pointed that despite the fact that Derech Ha’avot considered illegal according to “Talia Sasson Report1”, the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction financially supported the illegal outpost of 300,000 NIS. See the map below

Chronology of  the Israeli Manipulation :

  • February 2001 : the illegal outpost “Derech Ha’avot was  installed.
  • The year 2002 : Palestinian land owners first portioned against the outpost to the “Israeli High Court of Justice”.
  • 2002-2007 : Four cases were opened and closed against the outpost by the Palestinian land owners.
  • In the year 2008 : A fifth case, jointly filed by the Palestinian land owners and “Peace Now” organization in 2008, and closed in 2010. after the state declared its intention to legalize the outpost.
  • May 2010 :” The Israeli State Prosecutor” had notified the Israeli high court, that state prosecution is updating it's report on the case concerning the illegal outpost 'Derech Ha'avot', and that the status of the illegal outpost may eventually reconsidered to become 'legal'!
  • October 2014 : “Peace Now organization” called on the Israeli court to enforce the “State” to demolish the Structures that were built on private Palestinian lands.
  •  June 2015: The Israeli Supreme court, and after 12 years of deliberations, ordered the Israeli authorities to demolish the 17 structures that fall in the outpost land classified as “Private Palestinian Property”.

Photo for the illegal outpost of Derech Ha’avot

However, on the 6th of April 2014, what is so-called “ Custodian of the Absentee Property in Judea and Samaria” attached to the Israeli Ministry of Defense/Civil Administration, issued a military order to confiscate 984 dunums from Al-Khader, Nahhalin and Beit Ummar towns west and southwest of Bethlehem Governorate. According to the military order the "Custodian of the Absente Property” based in his decision to an illegal Israeli law issued following the Israeli military Occupation of the Palestinian Territory – (Absentee Property – Judea and Samaria- 59/1967) – in which it considered the targeted lands (984.35 dunums) as state lands and based on the Israeli interpretation of the Ottoman Law according to which if land is not cultivated for several years by the owners, it becomes state property. Noted that significant parts of the outpost of Derech Ha’avot, located within the land that classified as a “State land” while the rest of the area privately owned by Palestinian residents from Al-Khader town.


 [1] In March 2005, the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked former attorney Talia Sasson to organize a report on the status of established Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank territory. The report acknowledged more than 125 outposts illegal and that they were established with the indirect support of many Israeli ministries who disregarded the Israeli judicial counselor’s decision to stop all indirect financial support to these outposts.


Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlements