The Town of Adam, Israel: Fighting Left-Wing Land Theft

Bar Vanunu, Mayor of the Binyamin community of Adam, formerly known as Geva Binyamin and situated 4 kilometers northeast of Jerusalem, told Arutz Sheva the decision to allow Arabs to work land at the entrance to the community is “outrageous.”

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“This is very disturbing to the residents and presents a security hazard,” Vanunu said. “It is a plot by the left to steal our land on behalf of the Arabs. Not to be immodest, but if I had been mayor three years ago, this never would have happened.”

According to Vanunu, the Civil Administration sends soldiers with the Arabs every morning.

“They decided to let them farm at the entrance and send soldiers every morning. This land is under the jurisdiction of the town. But some left-wing groups who hate us filed in the High Court. I say unequivocally, this territory belongs to the town of Adam.” The community was founded in 1984.

The Civil Administration policy is based on a recent decision by Israel’s Supreme Court that ruled all non-State lands in Judea and Samaria are  ‘Arab land’ by default even when no evidence to that effect can be provided.

In making the ruling the Supreme Court, which does not deal in evidentiary questions, refused to refer land disputes to a competent lower court to evaluate the veracity of land claims based on normative evidentiary rules (e.g., deeds).

Critics say the Supreme Court’s refusal to ensure claims are substantiated via normal legal proofs was politically motivated and sought to advance a narrow partisan agenda under the color of law.

Vanunu says the leftists who filed the petition to allow the Arabs to use the land at Adam’s gate did so because they are “tortured” by the fact that the community is growing and could one day be a city in its own right.

“We are in a period of development, more than 60 housing units are being built as we speak,” Vanunu said. “Adam is home to more than 1400 families. There are 15 thousand acres that can accommodate another 120 thousand. We became an independent local council a long time ago, and have the potential to be a city.”

Vanunu added he hoped those in the halls of power would find a way to reverse the decision. “We are not an ideological Bnei Akiva community of pioneers. These people come from Jerusalem and are looking for quality of life. When they see local Arabs using Jewish lands right in front of their houses it is too much.”

“Unfortunately, the local committees have their heads in the sand. They hope and pray for someone in the administration to come to its senses. For us, the administration is no use,” he added.

A recent bill by Zevulun Orlev that would have mandated competent courts review all evidence in land claims was killed in committee by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday.

The bill would have also normalized the status of all Jewish communities with over 20 families that had stood for at least four years before such claims were filed.

On a finding in favor of the plaintiff, courts would have been instructed by the bill to order monetary compensation or alternative land grants.

Netanyahu also tabled a law that would have instituted locus standi – the concept of legal standing – in Israel’s courts. The concept of standing requires petitioners to prove they are a direct party to a dispute, and would therefore suffer personal harm from a given policy or law. This law would have prevented leftist NGO’s from filing suits on lands to which they have no personal claims.

The concept of standing, a bedrock principle of Western common law, is also found – in less crystalized form – in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds.

Source material can be found at this site.

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