By order of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the state has requested that the Attorney General approve the expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land on which Jewish homes were built 40 years ago.

The Ofra settlement

The Ofra settlement Photo credit: Hadas Porush, Flash 90

The Israeli Defense Ministry has asked the Attorney General to legalize hundreds of Jewish homes in the settlement of Ofra, some of them built on Palestinian-owned land.

In an official document ordered by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the ministry stated that Israel would fully compensate the Palestinian owners of the lands. “40 years after the establishment of the settlement, … it is possible to expropriate the privately-owned Palestinian land in order to use it for existing residential neighborhoods in Ofra,” said the document.

This request is an apparent attempt to bypass the Israeli Supreme Court, which in February 2017 ruled to freeze a bill to retroactively legalize Israeli settlements in the West Bank. If approved, it will set a precedent that may later be applied to other settlements as well.