Since its inception, the West Bank settlement enterprise has involved actions by settlers – including land seizures and construction – that violate Israeli law (all settlement construction is illegal under international law). Successive Israeli governments have consistently sought to bring unauthorized outposts and illegal settlement construction into good (or more secure) standing in the eyes of Israeli law. Such efforts hit an obstacle, however, when the 2005 Sasson Report, commissioned by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, concluded that "There is no way to validate the establishment of an outpost on private Palestinian property, not even post factum. Such outposts must be evacuated, the sooner the better.”
Rather than act on this finding, Israeli legislators and settlers spent years seeking ways around it. They seem to have achieved their goal, finally, on February 6, 2017, with the passage of the “Regulation Law” (sometimes called the "Settlement Regularization Law”), which gives Israel new legal avenues to seize private Palestinian land in order to retroactively legalize settlement construction. With the passage and implementation of the Regulation Law, Israel is now treating land ownership rights in the West Bank as a matter to be determined by Israeli domestic law – treatment that is tantamount to an assertion of sovereignty. As a matter of practice, this law in effect discards the rule of law in order to allow for the theft of property that even Israel recognizes to be privately owned by Palestinians (since 1967, most West Bank land that Israel does not recognize private Palestinian ownership of has already been seized by Israel).
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