Israel Grabs West Bank Land for Kibbutz

By Haaretz

Published November 18, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel carried out a de facto annexation of Palestinian land northeast of the Jordan Valley and given it to Kibbutz Merav. Merav, part of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, is about seven kilometers northwest of the parcel.

The route of the separation barrier in the area was changed so that the plot in question, about 1,500 dunams (375 acres), would be on the Israeli side.

Israel has previously built roads on and given Palestinian land in the West Bank to Jewish settlements, but this is thought to be the first instance of Palestinian-owned land being transferred to a community on sovereign Israeli territory.

A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Guy Inbar, confirmed that the property is in the West Bank and said, “Kibbutz Merav has been farming this land for decades.”

The issue of the land’s legal status and its transfer to Merav is clouded in mystery, and official statements have been contradictory. All efforts to locate d

The kibbutz is in the Emek Mayanot Regional Council, whose jurisdiction is entirely within the Green Line. In a statement, council officials said the land is beyond its jurisdiction and that the Israel Lands Administration controls land allocations to the council’s member communities.

Ofer Amar, a spokesman for the World Zionist Organization’s Jewish settlement division said the tract is classified as farmland within the Emek Mayanot Regional Council. He said the settlement division had no authority over the parcel.

Kibbutz Merav’s secretary general, David Yisrael, confirmed the kibbutz has been farming the land for years, growing field crops including corn as well as citrus fruit. He said he had a lease with the ILA for it, but refused to show it to Haaretz.

An official in the Civil Administration said Yisrael refused to show the contract to his agency, too.

ILA spokeswoman Ortal Tzabar said the ILA had no knowledge of the matter, as it does not deal with land outside sovereign Israeli territory.

“There is a straight line from plundering these 1,500 dunams to Amona, Migron and Givat Asaf, outposts that were built years later,” said Dror Etkes, director of Peace Now’s Settlements Watch Project, who detected the annexed land in aerial photographs.

If the appropriation of the Palestinian farmers’ lands in the Jordan Valley had happened now, rather than in the 1970s, Israeli civil rights groups would have prevented it, Etkes said.

“This is an example of why it so important for MK Ofir Akunis and his wacky right-wing colleagues to conceal and silence leftist organizations and turn the High Court of Justice and the media into the government’s puppets,” Etkes said.

Ashraf Madrasa, from the nearby village of Bardallah, showed Haaretz an ownership deed from 1961 for a 36-dunam tract of the land. He said the Israel Defense Forces seized the land, declared it a “military area,” drove out the owners and ordered never to return.

For more, go to Haaretz.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.