“Blatant Land Looting through “State Land Declarations” Validate the Expropriation of 2600 Dunums for the Interest of the Settlement of Eli in Nablus Governorate

“Blatant Land Looting through “State Land Declarations”
Validate the Expropriation of 2600 Dunums for the Interest of the Settlement of Eli  in Nablus Governorate

On March 21, 2016, the Israeli authorities handed over a Palestinian residents from Nablus Government a new state land declaration validate the expropriation of 2580 dunums from the lands of Qaryout Al Sawya and Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya.

The military order was issued by the so-called “The Custodian of Absentee property & Israel Land Authority of Judea and Samaria ” attached to the Israeli Ministry of Defense/Civil Administration , Yousi Sigal, on the 8th of March 2016. The targeted areas were as follows: Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya parcel 2- Wad Ali and parcel 3 Al-Rahout. Al-Sawya village kroum Al-Qibla. Qaryout village parcel 1 – Harayek Al-Sheikh- Al-Hawaneik- Al-Khalla- Qal’et Al-Hamra- Al-Furen- Al-Marah Al Gharbi- Al-San’a- Al-Mawaja- Al-Tantour, and parcel 6 Sahel Al-Murra.

According to the confiscation order, what is so-called “Blue Line Team” in the Civil Administration approved the classification of the land. Moreover the expropriation order stated that the current order based on a previous expropriation order issued in May 12, 1983 (2500 dunums were declared as State land” .


The military order issued in May 1983.


The confiscation order issued on March 2016

In a geopolitical analysis conducted by the Geo-informatics Department at ARIJ ,   and according to the new validation order issued on March 8, 2016, an additional area of 596 dunums have been expropriated while a claimed area of 516 dunums detracted from the declaration, where in total the current area of the land expropriated become 2580 dunums.


It is worth pointed and through the geopolitical analysis ,  71 dunums from the claimed 516 dunums supposed to be detracted by the new order lies in the current built up area of Eli settlement which means that these lands couldn’t be transferred to their Palestinian owners as the declaration order claimed! (The detracted area became 445 dunums instead of 516 dunums).

Moreover and according to the analysis , the targeted lands will be used for an expected future massive expansion   for the illegal Israeli settlement if Eli. See the map below:

Map for the expropriation order

Moreover, and according to the “Blue Line Team” proposed plans, an additional 3043 dunums to be declared as a “State Land” for the interest of the settlements of Eli and Shilo in the near future (463 dunums for Eli and 2580 dunums for Shilo).


Date of Establishment

Area – Dunums

Population 2012













Source : ARIJ Database 2015


The Blue Line team: a team in the Israeli Civil Administration related to the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The sole scope of work of the team  is to check the status of the Palestinian lands and to classify them if they are located within the “state land” zone or not. If the checked lands were classified and fall within “State Land” area, the blue line team inform the related authorities with results to push them toward expropriating the land.

It is worth mentioning that on November 25, 2014, the Palestinian village councils of Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya Al-Sawya and Qaryout petitioned to the Israeli “Supreme Court” demanding it prevent the Civil Administration from approving a detailed master plan for the settlement of Eli.

According to the petition, 221 dunums not declared as state land are included in the settlement master plan. Their inclusion in the settlement plan effectively expropriates these lands, without public announcement or right of appeal, gravely violating the rights of residents of the neighboring Palestinian villages. The petition also calls on the Court to order the Civil Administration to halt all new construction and refrain from granting construction permits in the plan area. The petition was submitted after the Civil Administration rejected an objection to the plan submitted by Bimkom and the councils of A-Sawya, Luban a-Sharqeya, and Qaryout, claiming the master plan does not include a new declaration of state land, only a “technical” correction of mistakes made during the 1983 declaration od “State Lands”

The aforementioned petition submitted by Attorneys Michael Sfard, Shlomy Zachary, and Muhammad Shuqier, where the petition argues that Eli’s master plan now includes some 1,000 dunums and authorizes the construction of 620 housing units, of which many have already been built illegally prior to the plan.. According to on-site measurements, 221 dunums – approximately 22 percent of the total plan area – are not included in the only declaration of state land completed in the area in 1983.  The petition stated also that the Civil Administration’s “Blue Line Team” re-examined the borders of the 1983 declaration and decided on substantial and extensive changes without any due process. In so doing, the State has effectively violated the Palestinian residents’ right to appeal the decision at the Military Appeals Committee. In addition to violating the rights of Palestinian residents in the neighboring villages, the settlement master plan is a substantive violation of administrative norms, as the Civil Administration’s Blue Line Team is not authorized to declare state land.

In Accordance to the petition submitted by the Palestinian councils of Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya, Al-Sawya and Qaryout, and  in an analysis conducted by the Geo-informatics Department at ARIJ, the expansion plan of Eli settlement and aerial photos, showed that the plan which hold No. 237 and seeks to expand the Israeli settlement of Eli by building 640 new housing units, located inside the border of the  settlement, but the problem is, that there are parts of land inside the plan area are not classified as “State land”.

Also the analysis showed that the area of the expansion plan of Eli settlement to build 640 housing units reach to 1046 dunums and there are 252 dunums of land (24% of the total plan area) never declared as “State land”. The aerial photos showed also, that many housing units have already been built illegally prior to the plan area, which means that the construction process came before getting the approval from the Israeli Authorities,  this is in addition that a number of  these housing units build on land are not classified as “State land”. It’s important to mention that the Israeli Occupation Authorities claimed that all the Israeli settlements are legal if they are built on land owned by the Israeli Authorities, in other words land classified by the Israeli Authorities as “State land”, and if some of the housing units in  Israeli settlements build on land not classified as “State land”, the Israeli Authorities gave them the permits they needs, in illegally ways, and away from the eyes of Palestinians and international organizations. This what was proved during the years of the Israeli Occupation, and also was proved on the ground, when the Israeli Occupation Authorities demolished Palestinian houses and structures under the claims that the houses have been built in illegal ways, but when the Israeli settlers build houses and structures without permits and in illegal ways, the Israeli Authorities directly authorized these buildings. 

The expansion plan of Eli settlement, done by the Israeli Civil Administration, showed that Israel seek to annex open public area to the expansion plan No. 237, this area are land occupied by the Israeli Authorities and classified as “State land”,  but the Israeli Authorities keep its status as “open public area”, to use them later on to expend settlements or to build new ones. In the expansion plan of Eli settlement case, the plan included  an area classified as “open public area”, which on February 2013, the Israeli Authorities published an ad in the local newspapers, announcing the depositing of plan no. 237 for 620 housing units in the settlement of Eli, by changing the status of the land from open public area to residential area.

Plan No. 237 for the expansion of Eli settlement


The Hersey  of Blue Line Team

Under the allegations of “technical tests and corrections” by the “Blue Line Team”, which conducted in a secret manner behind the closed doors in the Civil Administration,  and without the knowledge of the Palestinian land owners…..  dozens of thousands of private Palestinian lands declared “State Land”. These lands and according to the Israeli authorities are solely used for the expansion of the illegal settlements. During the last year the “Blue Line Team” intensified its “ corrections and tests” to capture more Palestinian lands for the interest of the Israeli settlements in the oPt. Following are a significant examples for “State Land” declarations adopted by the “Blue Line Team” to the interest of Israeli settlements:-

3740 Dunums to expand Four illegal settlements

On February 9, 2015, the Israeli daily newspaper ‘Haaretz’ revealed in a report that the Israeli Civil Administration prepared major expansions of the  illegal settlements of: Kedumim, Vered Yericho (cooperative and agriculture settlement), Neveh Tzuf ( Hallamish) and Emanuel.

What is so-called “Civil Administration Blue Line Team”, considering the allocation of +3700 dunums from the Palestinian lands to the interest of illegal settlements in the West Bank.

According to the report, some 3,740 dunums in the areas of the settlements were marked by the aforementioned (Blue Line Team) as “state lands”. Noted that more than 99% of State land are allocated to settlements.

3886 Dunums to expand three settlements  in the Jordan Valley

The Israeli Civil Administration; one of the Israeli Defense Ministry’ arms, and (after an alleged procedures and measures) carried out by what is so-called “Blue Line Team” in the Civil Administration, decided to declare the targeted land (about 1545 dunums) as “State land”, while, where the targeted  land used by the Israeli settlers for agriculture matters for  several years ago.

Moreover, and according to the Israeli Radio , part of the targeted lands had been captured to over the past 20 years by Jewish settlers of the illegal settlement of Almog (est. 1977 on an area of 486 dunums, pop 170) located south of Jericho Governorate in the Jordan Valley area.  

The Israeli sources indicated also that the confiscation intention  was ratified by the political echelon of the Israeli government and will soon be finalized, following a thorough examination of the land by  alleged experts in the Blue line team in the field in the coming weeks.

Remarking on the Israeli new proposed colonial step , the spokesperson of  what is so called the Coordination of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT) added that :, "in conjunction with the decision made by the political echelon of Israel, and experts in the field, these lands were permitted to be announced as state owned land, and are currently undergoing the final steps in that process. “to read more about the aforementioned declaration refer to the previously written case study : more than 1500 Dunums to be appropriated under “State Land” Pretext in the Jordan Valley

Furthermore , and on March 10, 2016, the Israeli Civil Administration declared about 2,342 dunums of Palestinian land, located south of Jericho city, as “State land”.

The new military order was issued by the so-called “The Custodian of Absentee property & Israel Land Authority of Judea and Samaria ” attached to the Israeli Ministry of Defense/Civil Administration, Yousi Sigal, and signed on the 10th of March 2016, which declared 2,342 dunums of land as “State land” or “Governmental property”. To read more refer to the previously written case study : New State Land Declaration Nearby Jericho Governorate 2342 Dunums Expropriated in the Jordan Valley.

More than that and on December 23, 2015 , the Civil Administration published six orders based on the new procedures regarding changes in blue line boundaries in Migdalim, Kiryat Arba, Shima'a , Tene, and in the area by the Tarqumia checkpoint. 6,681 dunums were announced as State Land, out of which 1,384 dunums were not originally included, now constitute the sum of these declarations. Approximately 962 dunums were detracted in these declarations. Overall we see a 26% increase to the area declared as state land, and a deviation of 44% of the original blue line, declared during the 1980s. 

Information obtained from the Civil Administration through a freedom of information request shows that in recent years the Blue Line Team examined boundaries of 290 different declarations and determined the boundaries of state lands totalling 268,000 dunums. If the recent announcements, in which one quarter of the land was not included in the original declaration, is any indication, then we are looking at around 70,000 new dunums declared as state lands without the knowledge of the public or the land owners!

Blatant land looting through “State Land Declarations”!

When Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, only one third of the occupied West Bank territory was registered to the people with a Turkish (Ottoman Empire) issued Tabu (certificate of ownership) and/ or with an official British certificate/ registration issued during the British Mandate era. Fundamentally, the Ottoman land code (law) of 1858 continue to govern the land holdings in the West Bank but was never so used during the centuries of Ottoman rule, or under the British and Jordanian rules who maintained the same law. Israeli Military Order #59 (1967(amended by M.O.1091)), which constituted an abuse of the Ottoman land law, by which the Israeli Military-appointed position of 'Custodian of Government Property' expropriated land owned by the Jordanian Government. Also, allows the 'Custodian of Government Property' to expropriate land from individuals or groups by declaring it 'Public Land' or 'State Land', the latter which it defines as land that was owned or managed by, or had a partner who was an enemy body or citizen of an enemy country during the 1967 war.

Accordingly, when Israel occupied the West Bank territory it assumed control of what was assigned as State Land at the time – during the Jordanian Administration period; an area of 634,920 dunums (11.2% from the total West Bank area) classified as “Registered State Lands”, where according to the Israeli equivocal interpretation to the laws, Israel consider itself the legitimate heir of the Jordanian, the British Mandate, the Ottoman; respectively State Land after its military occupation to the Palestinian territory in June 1967, which is absolutely erroneous.

Following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, Israel proceeded to classify an additional “Declared State Land” area of 843,922 dunums (14.9% from the total West Bank area) the high point of which was after the year 1979. Currently, the ICA prepares to complete procedures on what is called “Surveyed State Lands” which constitutes 11.7% from the West Bank with a total area of 666,327 dunums. In compilation, the total area of what classify State Land according to Israel as a “State Lands” rounds up to 2,145,169 dunums; some 38% of the West Bank total area).

It is worth mentioning that 248,904 dunums (4.4% of the West Bank area) and 11.6% of what constitutes state land according to Israel is actually located within what classifies as areas “A” and “B” according to Oslo II Interim Agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation of Palestine (PLO), mainly in Hebron Governorate at the southern part of the West Bank

Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya

A Palestinian village located 20 km to the south east of Nablus city. It is surrounded by a number of Palestinian villages including Qaryut, Yasuf, Salfit, and others. The village total area is 12075 dunums including 150 dunums of built up area 240 dunums are planted with vegetables, 700 dunums placed under surrounding Israeli colonies control, 200 dunums used for the milling of by-pass road (60), and the rest is planted with olives, figs, and different prunus.
The village is inhabited by 2900 people.


Qaryout is an agricultural Palestinian village located about 26 Km south east of Nablus City. It spread on 7483 dunums, of which 9.2% (691 dunums) classified as Area B, and the remaining 90.8% (6792 dunums) classified as Area C. It has a population of 2500 people (according to the village council).

Qaryout is surrounded by illegal settlements Eli and Hayovel outpost from the west and Shilo from east, part of which are constructed on the village lands. Table 1 shows the Israeli Settlements surrounding Qaryout village, in Nablus Governorate and related information

Al-Sawya is a Palestinian village located southeast of Nablus. It is bordered by Eli settlement from the south , Talfit and Qaryout from the east and north east, Al-Lubban Al-Sharqeya from southwest , Rechalim settlement , Yatma and Yasouf from the north. It is inabited by more than 2900 residents.

Legal & International Status


The Israeli expropriation of Palestinian land in the occupied Palestinian territory in all of its aspect constitute a circumvent over the international law rules and international legitimacy resolutions

The Israeli expropriation of the Palestinian lands constitute a flagrant and grave breach for the International law rules and conventions (Art. 51 of the 1949 Geneva Convention II –Art. 147 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV- Art. 53 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV-Art. 23(g) of the 1899 Hague Regulations – the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of, December 10, 1948, Articles 13 and 17 and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966  :-

Articles 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention indicated that: Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. is a grave breach of the Convention.

Art. 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907 also provides: In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden to destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war;.

Article 53 of the same convention provides that 'any destruction by the Occupying power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or other public authorities or social or cooperative organizations is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.'

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of, December 10, 1948, Article 17 reads: 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.' Which means it bans Israel from destroying or confiscating the property of the Palestinians at any case.

Article 12' of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966: Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Settlement Expansion