Land Expropriation and Annexation and Local Government

Published: 
1 Jan 2014

The Israeli administration has applied most aspects of Israeli law to the settlers and the settlements, thus effectively annexing them to the State of Israel. This has taken place despite the fact that, in formal terms, the West Bank is not part of the State of Israel, and the law in effect there is Jordanian law, which incorporates Ottoman law and judgments of the Mandatory Supreme Court, and military legislation. This annexation has resulted in a regime of legalized separation and discrimination. This regime is based on two separate legal systems in the same territory, with the rights of individuals being determined by their nationality.

Local government in the settlements has been established on the basis of the usual model inside Israel and is managed in a similar manner, ignoring the relevant Jordanian legislation that should apply in the West Bank. Twenty-three Jewish local authorities operate in the West Bank: three municipalities, fourteen local councils and six regional councils, including 121 settlements recognized as distinct communities. In addition, there are about 100 outposts, which are settlements that are not officially authorized but are supported and assisted by government ministries. Also, twelve settlements have been established in the areas annexed to the Municipality of Jerusalem in 1967, which are deemed settlements under international law, in which Israeli law has been officially imposed.

The areas of jurisdiction of the Jewish local authorities, most of which extend far beyond the built-up area, are defined as "closed military zones" in the military orders. Palestinians are forbidden to enter these areas without authorization from the Israeli military commander. Israeli citizens, Jews from throughout the world, and tourists are all permitted to enter these areas without the need for special permits.