JERUSALEM, May 19 (Xinhua) -- The state of Israel announced on court last week that it would return the lands of a settlement evacuated in 2005 back to its original Palestinian owners, local media reported on Sunday.
The announcement came after a petition filed by the Palestinian land owners in a Supreme Court.
Homesh, a 0.7 square km settlement, was established in 1980 on lands belonging to residents of the nearby Palestinian village of Burka. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have taken over the land for "military purposes" shortly before.
In 2005, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon executed the " disengagement" plan in which Israel evacuated settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Homesh was among the settlements that were evicted. However, the land was still in the hands of the Israeli military.
In 2011, several Palestinians from the village of Burka petitioned to the Supreme Court, with the help of Israeli human rights groups, requesting to overturn the IDF's seizure of the land and hand the land over to its original owners.
"It's sad that so many years had to pass until the state decided to uphold the law and return the robbed land to its owners, " attorney Shlomo Zharia, who submitted the appeal on behalf of the Yesh Din advocacy group, told the Ha'aretz daily on Sunday.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been at a deadlock as far as the peace process is concerned since 2010 due to Israel's construction of settlements.
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