Adalah: Renewal of land registration process in East Jerusalem is a blatant violation of international law

In view of the acceleration in the implementation of the 2018 Israeli government’s decision, Adalah and The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem demand the immediate halt of the "regulation of land rights" process in East Jerusalem. The government's decision will lead to the widespread application of the 1950 Israeli “Absentee Property Law" and the expropriation of Palestinian land in violation of international law.

On 16 November 2021, Adalah, on behalf of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, sent a letter to the Land Registry Officer, the Minister of Justice, Gideon Sa'ar, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit demanding the immediate termination of the process of land rights regulation in East Jerusalem. The letter was sent in light of many recent announcements regarding the procedure’s renewal following a government decision passed in May 2018. This move signifies a change to the Israeli policy in place since the 1967 occupation, which halted property rights allocation in the area.


CLICK HERE to read the letter [Hebrew].


Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara argued in the letter that the renewal of land rights registration will lead to extensive expropriation of Palestinian land, contrary to international and Israeli law. Adalah stressed that Israel is not allowed to create permanent changes in land rights in the occupied territory, and the renewed registration procedure is inaccessible to a significant segment of the Palestinian population who have claims to land rights in East Jerusalem, and therefore it fails to guarantee due process. Some of the land rights holders are refugees living outside of Israeli controlled territories, or are Palestinians living in the West Bank or Gaza. This group is prevented from taking part in the registration process and protect their land rights.


Furthermore, Adalah and the Civic Coalition argue that the procedure is illegal even in regard to Palestinian rights holders residing in East Jerusalem, because it relies on a normative framework of Israeli law that is contrary to Palestinian interests and it serves the illegal settlement enterprise that leads to eviction proceedings in Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, among others.


Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara stated:


"Recently, there has been an acceleration in the processes aimed at promoting far-reaching demographic changes in Jerusalem as well as a change in the map of land use and ownership, in violation of international law. The Israeli occupation on the one hand makes Palestinian living conditions unbearable and on the other hand, actively works at depriving them of their homes and properties. The settler groups have become the shapers of Israel's policies, and Israeli law, the executive arm of those policies, as we see, for example, in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan recently."


Zakariya Odeh, the director of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, added:


“The renewal of the procedure is also expected to lead to the increased application of the Absentee Property Law, which is applied exclusively to Palestinians, leading to a gross violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law. In addition, the extensive confiscation of civilian property is also strictly prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention and is considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in The Hague."