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Military responds to HaMoked's freedom-of-information application: about ILS five million were confiscated from Palestinians in 2014

On March 9, 2014, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice against a new order issued by the military in March of 2013, which brazenly stipulates that decisions to confiscate the property of OPT residents, including money, cannot be appealed before military courts, and are “followed by nothing”. The order was applied retroactively to any confiscation that has taken place since the territories were occupied in 1967(!).

Concurrently with filing the petition, HaMoked made a request under the Freedom of Information Act for the number of confiscation orders issued against OPT residents between 2011 and 2013. The military’s response indicated that in over said period, the number of had more than quadrupled. In 2011, the military commander issued a single order under Regulations 84 and 120 of the emergency regulations enacted by the British Mandate. The regulations allow for the confiscation of OPT residents’ property should any suspicion arise that it belongs to an “unauthorized association” or might be used for criminal activity or activity directed against security. In 2012, 25 such orders were issued and in 2013, the military commander signed no less than 116 orders under the Emergency Regulations and three more under different regulations that empower him to confiscate property.

On April 27, 2015, HaMoked made another Freedom of Information application for figures on the number of confiscation orders issued in 2014 and 2015, after the new order came into effect. HaMoked also asked what the total sum of money confiscated from Palestinian residents of the OPT during that time was.

The military responded on July 1, 2015, stating that the military commander had signed 110 orders to confiscate Palestinian property in 2014, and that, as of the response date, 7 orders had been signed since the beginning of 2015. The military also stated that the total sum of money confiscated between January 2014 and July 2015 was ILS 5,190,000 (aprox. 1.45 million USD), about 5 million of which was confiscated in 2014 alone.

HaMoked’s petition against the order, which denies Palestinians the right to appeal confiscations and forces them to challenge them only in the form of petitions to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice, has been scheduled for a hearing on November 23, 2015. The state claims it has been conducting “staff work” on this issue since April 2014 and the court instructed it to issue its supplementary response on this subject by November 13, 2015. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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