Israeli newspaper Haaretz has acquired the certified map of the borders of the West Bank settlement of Eli, showing that contrary to claims by the Netanyahu government’s Civil Administration, at least 166 homes in the settlement are built on land privately-owned by Palestinians.
The most recent survey carried out by the government claimed only two houses were built on private land, but Palestinians from a nearby village have been petitioning Israel’s High Court, noting that they missed many, many others, something that the map confirms.
Though the High Court has often ruled in favor of Palestinian petitioners in the past, the Eli situation may be difficult, because Israel recognizes no actual property rights in the area around Eli, and all ownership claims rely on documentation from Ottoman Empire era Palestine.
The Civil Administration shrugged off the new reports, saying that they have “no plans” to take any action related to the Eli settlement. Recently, however, the Netanyahu government has vigorously pushed to retroactively legalize illegal settlement construction, so even if the High Court does rule, it might be overturned by such a move.
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