From the Washington Post:
An Israeli advocacy group has found that 39 percent of the land used by Jewish settlements in the West Bank is private Palestinian property, and contends that construction there violates international and Israeli law guaranteeing the protection of property rights in the occupied territories.
In a critical report released here Tuesday, the Settlement Watch project of Peace Now also disclosed that much of the land that Israeli officials have said would remain part of the Jewish state under any final peace agreement is private Palestinian property.
That includes some of the large settlement blocs inside the barrier that Israel is building to separate Israelis from the Palestinian population in the West Bank. The report states that 86 percent of Maale Adumim on Jerusalem's eastern edge sits on private Palestinian land. A little more than 35 percent of the settlement of Ariel, which cuts deep into the northern West Bank, is also on private property.
Israel's government has long maintained that the settlements, developed in large part with public money, sit on untitled property known as "state land" or on property of unclear legal status. Israeli courts have also ruled that unauthorized outposts erected on private Palestinian property must be razed, although those orders are rarely carried out.
The 38-page report offers what appears to be a comprehensive argument against the Israeli government's contention that it avoids building on private land, drawing on the state's own data to make the case. Israeli officials said Tuesday they are studying the findings.
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