Israel's Supreme Court also sits as the High Court of Justice. In this capacity, it has original jurisdiction over civil rights cases filed by citizens against government entities such as administrative agencies.

Israel’s Supreme Court also sits as the High Court of Justice. In this capacity, it has original jurisdiction over civil rights cases filed by citizens against government entities such as administrative agencies.

Together with other organizations,Peace Now has submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice against Israel’s new expropriation law, passed on Feb. 6, 2017 and also known as the legalization law or the regulation law. The law allows for the expropriation of private Palestinian land in the West Bank. The petitioners requested the High Court to issue an interim injunction, which would prevent the implementation of land expropriation processes until a final decision is issued by the Court.

The petition elucidates the ways in which the expropriation law violates basic human rights and contradicts Israeli law and international humanitarian law, as well as provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Violations of the Rome Statute could put officers, MKs and Israeli citizens at risk of being tried in the International Criminal Court.

As revealed in data collected by Peace Now, the law could lead to the expropriation of over 8,000 dunams (approximately 2,000 acres) of private land on which there are illegal settlement structures, and tens of thousands of dunams of agricultural lands used by settlers. The lands slated for expropriation are owned by thousands of Palestinians, if not tens of thousands, many of whom are represented in the petition through Palestinian local councils. The law does not permit Palestinians, who did not elect the parliament that decided to expropriate their lands, to resist the expropriation procedure.

The Knesset passed the law despite the clear and stated opposition of the Attorney General, the Knesset Legal Advisor and the legal adviser to the Ministry of Defense.

The legislation process itself exceeds the authority of the Knesset, which is not authorized to regulate the land laws outside of the sovereign borders of the State of Israel. To date, and for nearly 50 years, Knesset legislation in relation to the West Bank was limited to individual legal rights – applying only to Israeli citizens who live in the West Bank – while legislators refrained from directly administrating the area itself. Legislating this law is a clear act of sovereignty, and thus constitutes unlawful annexation.

Peace Now states: “We felt compelled to submit this petition, both because of the far reaching implications of the law on the two state solution and because of its implications on Israel’s moral values. We refuse to let the Israeli government turn stealing into its official policy. We refuse to let the Knesset expropriate lands from Palestinians who are not represented in the legislative process which they are victims of. We refuse to allow the extreme right wing government to stain Israel’s law books.”