Warning against the launch of the occupation authorities’ plan to “settlement of real estate rights” in occupied Jerusalem

Aiming to open the way for the "Absentee Property Law"

Jerusalem24 – A Palestinian coalition has warned that the “real estate rights settlement” plan launched by the occupation in the city of Jerusalem aims to deny many Palestinian rights to real estate and confiscate them under the pretext of lacking sufficient ownership proof.

The Civil Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem said, “This policy is an inseparable part of the occupation policies that are being practiced against our people in Jerusalem, which aim in their entirety to Judaize the city and empty it of its residents.”

On March 19, 2018, the Israeli Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, announced a notice regarding the opening of a real estate rights settlement file or the announcement of a land settlement in the city of Jerusalem, which included basins in Sur Baher, Beit Hanina, Sheikh Jarrah and Hizma.

The coalition said in a statement, “The selection of these neighborhoods or areas to start in is not a coincidence, but rather based on an Israeli vision and the presence of loopholes in those areas that help the occupying power to confiscate a large amount of land. Especially through the application of the Absentee Property Law or the presence of settlements in the area or The absence of any settlement during the Jordanian administration.”

They added, “on May 13th, 2018, the government approved the allocation of a budget of five hundred and sixty million US dollars to consolidate Israeli control and sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem, during the next five years. Fourteen million US dollars were allocated from the total approved budget to cover the expenses of real estate settlement.

The coalition pointed out that, “since the occupation of the city 53 years ago, land and real estate have not been registered in many neighborhoods of the city, which hindered the process of organizing, and thus the possibility of obtaining building permits for Palestinians of Jerusalem.”

They also said, “add to this the racist planning policy, which aims to control the land, displace Jerusalemites and confiscate lands, as the occupying power controls 87% of the lands of the eastern part of the city, and is used to promote settlement and build settlements, which led to a shortage of land needed for construction for Jerusalemites.

They continued, “add to that the restrictions on the difficulty of obtaining building permits and the high costs of obtaining them from the occupation municipality, which increased the fines on  construction without a permit. According to statistics, there are more than 20,000 homes built without a permit, about a third of Jerusalemites live in homes without a permit. Which are liable to be demolished at any moment.”

The statement goes on to say, “the city is also witnessing an escalation in Israeli policies and plans aimed at promoting settlements, including the plan for the East Jerusalem Center, the so-called “Silicon Valley”, Wadi al-Joz, to establish a “High Tech” complex and services in the industrial zone in Wadi al-Joz, and a plan to establish three hotels and services. Infrastructure in al-Masrara opposite Bab al-Amud, the construction of the settlement of “Givat Hamatos” in the Tabaleh Valley on the lands of Beit Safafa, the expansion of the settlement of Jabal Abu Ghneim, and preparations for the start of the construction of the “E1” settlement, the expansion of the “Ramat Shlomo” settlement, and a plan to build a settlement in the area Jerusalem International Airport, which aims to promote the annexation of the city, the control of land, the expansion of settlements and the displacement of its original inhabitants.

The coalition warned that the Israeli move aims to “activate and implement the Absentee Property Law, as Israeli institutions will control the properties of Jerusalemites who are present and residing outside Palestine or even outside Jerusalem in neighboring cities.”

They said, “properties whose ownership has been forged through deals or leaked will be legalized, and Jerusalemites will be forced to pay huge amounts of property taxes during the registration process. And in the event that the property is not registered in the name of one of the owners, the ownership of the property will be transferred to the Israeli government.”

The statement called on the civil coalition in Jerusalem to “take care and caution in dealing with the issue and take advice from legal, human rights and official bodies before applying for registration.”

They also called for “the formation of a national technical, legal and political reference to follow up the issue of the settlement of rights and property and to provide legal and technical advice to Jerusalemites.” Stressed the importance of “facilitating the resolution of disputes among neighborhood residents over disputed properties and finding a mechanism to confront the Absentee Law.”

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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