'Land exchanges could provide legal backing for Regulation Law'

Former judge Oded Moderick feels that land exchanges, and not monetary compensation, could confer legitimacy on the Regulation Law.

Yoel Domb ,

Amona. Land exchange?
Amona. Land exchange?
Amona PR division

Former District Court Judge Oded Moderick discussed with Arutz Sheva the Regulation Law which passed its first reading yesterday and claimed that one clause is missing which would make the law more constitutional.

Moderick, who lectures on law at the Ariel University, said that the idea of the Law, in principle, is right in that it ensures that people who have been living on land for a long time will continue to live there, while at the same time providing commensurate compensation to the claimants.

However, Moderick claimed, this on its own is not enough, because there is also a dispute whether the land belongs to the state as it claims or whether it belongs to the Palestinians who also stake a claim to the land. By providing monetary compensation to a private Palestinian owner for the land and transferring it to Jewish hands, the balance of lands held by Israel and the Palestinians changes.

Moderick feels that instead of monetary compensation, the law should allow for an exchange of private property seized by the state with other state lands which will be transferred to the Palestinians. In this way, the balance of lands held by Israel and the Palestinians will stay the same and the law will enable people to stay on private land if it was inadvertently confiscated by the state.

Moderick feels that the opposition to clause 7 in the law stemmed from the fact that it gave legal justification to outposts which had not been established on land which the state thought belonged to it. The idea in this clause was that if the state had provided infrastructure, then it recognized the rights of those who had established these outposts, even if they were on private land. However, Moderick claimed, this is incorrect from a legal point of view. The state had to provide infrastructure, but this could not be deemed de facto recognition of the rights of those who had established the outposts.

On the other hand communities established on land which was thought to be state land could receive protection from the Regulation Law.

If the Palestinian owner refused to receive alternative land, what then could be done?

"It's true that the Palestinian may not wish to receive land in exchange for his land, but there is a limit to how much we take his wishes into account. The state also has an interest and so too does the person who settled on the land. We can't cause him an injustice to prevent another injustice, which can hardly be termed an injustice if the Palestinian will receive alternative land.That is merely politically motivated and not due to an injustice."

What if the Palestinian is accused of relinquishing land to Jews and tried by Palestinian courts who may even punish him with death?

This is a possibility, but he can always point to the fact that he was coerced by the state to relinquish his land and received alternative lands in exchange.

Why then does the Attorney General oppose the Regulation Law even after the controversial clause 7 was removed from it?

"I don't know his reasons for opposing it. I know him personally to be a man of truth and if he says that the law will not pass in the High Court I imagine he has what to rely on or feels that way from a professional viewpoint. There is no political prestige involved here, this is his unbiased professional opinion, but even an attorney of that ability can reach disputable positions."