Dispossessing East Jerusalem Palestinian Residents
by Stephen Lendman
Israel plans Judaizing Jerusalem entirely. It wants it exclusively Jewish. It’s an international city. It’s under a UN trusteeship. It doesn’t matter.
Ethnic cleansing is official Israeli policy. Palestinian owned land is seized. Homes are demolished. Dispossessions follow.
Israel wants Arabs excluded. It wants Jerusalem at Israel’s epicenter. It’s a religiously important city for Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Zionists consider it Israel’s historic capital. It’s symbolic of Judaism’s post-WW II revival and prominence. For Christians, it’s where Jesus lived and died.
It’s Islam’s third holiest site. The Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque rank after Mecca’s Sacred Mosque and Madina’s Mosque of the Prophet.
After Israel’s 1967 annexation, East Jerusalem changed physically, culturally and spiritually. It did so under Israel’s Judaization plan.
Settlements were established. They expanded and grew. They did so at the expense of core Palestinian rights. Land theft, dispossessions, and Judaizing Jerusalem entirely reflect official Israeli policy.
Municipal boundaries expanded. Doing so shifted the demographic balance toward a predominantly Jewish city.
On July 30, 1980, the Jerusalem Law annexed Jerusalem. It’s unified as Israel’s capital. It was done illegally. It was after Security Council Resolution 465 (March 1, 1980) declared:
“all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant (Fourth Geneva) violation….and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territory, including East Jerusalem, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development (and) have been established in breach of international law.”
Israel flouts UN resolutions and court rulings routinely. It ignores ones contrary to its interests. It operates with impunity.
Washington’s backing is firm. It’s longstanding. It lets Israel get away with murder and lots more.
Total Jerusalem annexation is planned. It’s ongoing at the expense of longtime Palestinian residents. Longstanding policy wants them out. Ethnic cleansing’s removing them.
On August 15, Haaretz editors headlined “Attorney general without justice,” saying:
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein “approved using the Absentee Law in East Jerusalem.”
It permits land theft. It enables property expropriation. It’s “part of an effort to Judaize Palestinian neighborhoods.”
It’s “creat(ing) an artificial separation between the West Bank and Jerusalem.”
It’s affecting longtime Palestinian residents. They’re being dispossessed from their own land and property.
In March 1950, Israel’s Absentees’ Property Law (APL) defined absentees as:
“person(s) who, at any time during the period between (November 29, 1947) and (May 19, 1948) has ceased to exist (and no longer were) legal owner(s) of any property situated in the area of Israel….”
APL transferred property owner rights to a Custodian of Absentee Property. He was made liable to the real owner for the value.
Returning land to its proper owners was prohibited. It still is. Israel calls them absentees. Doing so precludes their owning what’s theirs.
In July 1950, The Development Authority (Transfer of Property) Law was enacted. It was a legal ploy to shield Israel from accusations of land theft and property on it.
Israel’s Development Authority (DA) was established as an independent body. It was done to buy, sell, lease, exchange, repair, build, develop and/or cultivate seized property.
Transactions between Jews or Jewish entities alone are permitted. Under no circumstances may dispossessed Arabs return.
Israel’s Land Administration (ILA) manages 93% of state land. Israel’s Basic Law affirms that “ownership of Israel Lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority or the Keren Kayemet Le-Israel (KKL – Jewish National Fund, JNF), shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner.”
Land’s defined as “land, houses, buildings and anything permanently fixed to land.”
It’s part of Israel’s public domain. ILA assures its use conforms with Israeli laws. It protects state lands. It supervises them.
It allocates them for public use. It plans, develops and manages state land reserves.
It decides who’s welcome. It determines who isn’t. It excludes Palestinians. It does so to make way for Jews.
It’s part of Judaizing all valued Judea and Samaria areas. Arabs aren’t welcome. They never were. They’re not now. Israel wants them out.
APL “was problematic from the start,” said Haaretz editors. It lets Israel “appropriate the property of Palestinians who were living outside the state’s borders, mainly in refugee camps, without any possibility of entering Israel.”
Applying it to Occupied Palestine “took place under completely different circumstances.” Owners became “absentees.”
They did so without leaving their residences. Even if they lived outside annexed territory, “they still had access to their property.”
Former Attorney General Meir Shamgar ordered the law not be exercised. He did so because applying it under new circumstances constituted unjustifiable evictions and property rights violations.
Boaz Okon’s a former Jerusalem District Court judge. He was a Supreme Court registrar. In 2006, he called APL “a legal trick not backed by reality.” He said applying it’s “a type of jurisprudence without justice.”
Supreme Court Justice Asher Grunis asked why it shouldn’t apply to settler-owned property in Israel. They live outside state borders, he said.
Former Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered the law not be used. Applying it in Occupied Palestine violates international law. It does so despite Israel designating state laws for East Jerusalem.
In contrast, “Weinstein is promoting ‘jurisprudence without justice,’ ” said Haaretz editors.
Doing so violates fundamental Palestinian rights. It does it in “service (to) Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem.” They’ve “taken over the property of these present ‘absentees.’ “
Weinstein’s acting illegally. He’d “do better to shelve this procedure” entirely. Like his predecessors, he should “refuse to apply the law.” Failure shows contempt for international law. It’s standard Israeli practice.
A Final Comment
In 1972, Israel agreed to funding limits inside 1967 borders. US/Israel Binational Science Foundation terms said:
“According to the agreement between the US and Israeli governments, projects sponsored by the Foundation may not be conducted in geographic areas which came under the administration of the Government of Israel after June 5, 1967 and may not relate to subjects primarily pertinent to such areas.”
Doing so violates international law. The same applies to land expropriation, property destruction, and dispossessions.
Israel operates lawlessly. It does so unaccountably. It does it at the expense of core Palestinian rights.
It does it because world leaders stay silent. It does it with longstanding Washington support. It does what can’t be allowed to continue. For sure one day it won’t.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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