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Palestinians sue Israel for West Bank land rights damages

[JURIST] Five Palestinians represented by Israeli rights group Yesh Din [advocacy website] filed suit [PDF complaint, in Hebrew] against the State of Israel seeking $427,000 in damages for failing to protect Palestinian-owned land in the West Bank from trespassers and an illegal outpost, according to Yesh Din lawyers Monday. The suit, brought in the Magistrate Court in Jerusalem, alleges that the Migron [Mateh Binyamin Regional Council backgrounder] community was illegally settled on the plaintiffs' land with the assistance of Israeli authorities, altering its topography and blocking the owners' access to the area. The Palestinian owners, the first to seek monetary damages [AP report] from Israel in a land dispute, cite loss of potential income and Israel's breach of its duty to protect Palestinian property in the West Bank. Migron residents have stated that they do not intend to leave the disputed land. The Jerusalem Post has more.

In September, a report [report summary, PDF; JURIST report] released by rights group B'Tselem [advocacy website] alleged that Israeli security policies have resulted in Palestinians being prevented from accessing land adjacent to settlements in the West Bank. The report described two main Israeli behaviors against Palestinians in the West Bank, including the use of violence and harassment by settlers and security forces to keep Palestinians away from the settlements, and the building of a secondary fence to create a buffer zone consisting of empty land in a wide swath around the settlements. In July, Yesh Din highlighted the lack of investigations and prosecutions [JURIST report] of Israeli settlers who commit crimes against Palestinians. In June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asserted that Israeli plans to expand settlements [Ha'aretz report] in the West Bank violate international law [JURIST report].

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