In 2000, Israeli settlers established the outpost of Mitzpe Kramim without government approval, a valid master plan or building permits. The outpost was built on land registered as privately owned by Palestinians, outside the bounds of the military seizure order where the settlement of Kochav Hashachar had been built, and in an area the army had declared a closed military zone. In July 2022, after more than a decade of litigation involving several actors, including Yesh Din as amicus curiae, the Supreme Court retroactively approved the unauthorized outpost by majority opinion, ruling it should not be removed.
This is a supplementary report to Bad Faith – The illegal outpost of Mitzpe Kramim and the efforts to retroactively approve it, presenting the circumstances under which the unauthorized outpost was built and analyzing the Supreme Court ruling that effectively retroactively approved it. The justices based their ruling on a section within the military law applicable in the West Bank (Section 5 of the Order regarding Government Property, No. 59), according to which where the military unit responsible for land in the West Bank hands over title to land in good faith, the Palestinian owners can be stripped of their rights, and the land can be given over to Israeli settlers.
The Supreme Court’s decision has significant, cross-cutting implications: It may turn good-faith arguments by the Israeli authorities into a mechanism used as a tool for retroactively approving thousands more structures built in settlements and outposts on privately owned Palestinian land. The Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Mitzpe Karmim contradicts the legal framework that has been applied to the West Bank so far, whereby Israeli settlements could not be built on privately owned Palestinian land. It also contradicts the provisions of international law regarding the occupying power’s duty to safeguard the private property of residents living under occupation.
The majority opinion of the Supreme Court bench benefits Israeli settlers exclusively at the expense of Palestinian landowners’ rights. The former belong to a public that benefits from the system of Jewish supremacy, which privileges them over the latter, who belong to a public subjected to systemic discrimination and stripped of political rights. In this regard, the Mitzpe Kramim ruling confirms the existence of an Israeli apartheid regime in the West Bank and contributes to bolstering it.