Court dismissed claim filed by Bedouin plaintiffs due to the lack of evidence of their land possession rights

The Kiryat Gat Magistrate’s Court rejected the claim by Bedouin claimants, revoked the injunction filed due to the strike and ordered for the costs of 25,000 shekels to be charged to plaintiffs in the state’s favor.

This unprecedented ruling by Hon. Judge Israel Pablo Axelrad came on May 22 in response to requests filed by Bedouins demanding to stop tree planting in the Arkiv 34 area on the territory that was not appropriated by the state. The cause of action was a claim memorandum allegedly filed by plaintiffs to a Settlement Ordinance official.

First the court ruled that plaintiffs did not succeed at all in proving that the claim they filed does not fall within the area that was appropriated and this alone is enough to dismiss the case.

Nevertheless, Hon. Judge Israel Pablo Axelrad went on to analyze the plaintiffs’ claims. Regarding the absence of land rights despite the claim memo filed by claimants Hon. Judge noted that “previous court rulings were based mainly on the lack of claimants’ rights in their specific cases and not on any recorded right of the state”. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether this land is properly registered or not – claim memorandum alone does not confer the plaintiffs any land possession rights, and this was the main reason for this case dismissal.

Regarding the right of the state on the land Hon. Judge Axelrad ruled out that although the land was not appropriated, by provisions of Section 22 of the Land Ordinance and by provisions of Section 3 of the State Property Law, the state has a residual right on the land which means that if the land was not appropriated and as long as there is no specific court ruling on the case, it belongs to the state.

With respect to the matter of the land use by the state the court has accepted the position of the Israeli Land Administration – land has to be inspected on a regular basis, it is acceptable to plant forests on it and carry out agricultural activity for a certain period of time, but what is most important – it is completely appropriate to evict trespassers trying to invade the state-owned land.

In the end of the court ruling text Hon. Judge Axelrad harshly criticized the plaintiffs for “the excessive use of cynical and sometimes blatant tongue” in their claim brief text and during the court sessions.