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Land registration: Serving settler and state interests

Jerusalem24 – On 23 June, settlement of land title procedures were initiated by the Israeli government in two new areas in occupied East Jerusalem: Abu Tor, and the area between the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the old city and the neighborhood of Silwan.

This “carries possible disastrous ramifications for hundreds of Palestinian homes,” according to a report released jointly by Bimkom and Ir Amin.

Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, is an Israeli human rights organization formed in 1999 by a group of professional planners and architects, in order to strengthen democracy and human rights in the field of spatial planning and housing policies, in Israel and in Area C of the West Bank, which is under Israeli control.

“Registration is a very basic and important issue in building and developing,” Efrat Cohen Bar, Director of human rights at Bimkom, tells Jerusalem24. “People put their claims to the right of the land and then the minister of justice checks these claims. So if […] people don’t know they are doing this process, they can’t claim for their right to the land.”

“As far we can see, people don’t know about this process.”

The Israeli government announced its decision in 2018 to undertake settlement of land title procedures in East Jerusalem, something which has not been done since 1967. According to the Bimkom report, “there has been grave concern [since 2018] that these proceedings would be exploited to dispossess Palestinians of their lands and expand Israeli control over more territory.”

“The Ministry of Justice did not follow Israeli law or the correct procedure in going about this process,” says Cohen Bar.

The whole enterprise, she says, is doing more for settler and state interests – not the Palestinians that it claimed it would help.

According to the Bimkom report, the procedures are being conducted within the framework of Government Decision 3790, “which is intended to ostensibly promote socio-economic development in East Jerusalem through a 2.1 billion investment over a five-year period. Although characterized as a measure aimed at ‘creating a better future’ for Palestinian residents, implementation of these procedures over the past year confirms that they are rather being used for the benefit of the state and/or Jews with budgets designated for Palestinians.”

Listen to the full interview on Wake Up Palestine.

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