Objection to the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan that will Further Restrict Development of Palestinian Neighborhoods, Entrench the Settlements and Alter the City's Demographic Composition

Planning Committee, Filed in 11/08 to the National Council for Planning and Building in cooperation with the Civic Coalition

On 24 November 2008, Adalah filed an objection to the National Council for Planning and Building (NCPB) to the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan, which was submitted two months ago. The objection was filed in cooperation with the Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem (CCDPRJ) on behalf of 73 objectors (56 Palestinians from East Jerusalem and 17 local organizations). The objection was written by Adalah’s Urban Planner, Hana Hamdan and Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara.

Today, 27 November 2008, Adalah held a press conference to mark the submission of the objection, which was attended by tens of local and international journalists, as well as representatives from a number of foreign embassies and consulates and international organizations.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, and the Palestinian Governor of Jerusalem, Mr. Adnan al-Husseini, opened the press conference and emphasized the grave dangers facing the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem and the importance of the legal and professional work on land and planning issues in the city. Adalah’s General Director Attorney Hassan Jabareen then stated that the goal of the press conference was to expose the work of the Israeli bureaucracy as it affects Jerusalem and the future of the city, since the media only covers issues related to Israel’s visible policies in Jerusalem, such as home demolitions. Land planning policies, however, remain hidden, despite the fact that they are determining the city’s fate over the long term and directly affect the day-to-day lives of Palestinians living there.

Adalah Attorney Suhad Bishara gave a comprehensive presentation of the proposed plan and the effect it will have on the lives of Palestinians in Jerusalem, and on the general character of the city. Attorney Bishara emphasized that the plan is a continuation of the planning approach that is followed by Israel in occupied East Jerusalem, and which does not benefit its Palestinian population, but rather seeks to maintain a permanent Jewish majority within the area designated “united greater Jerusalem.” Under the plan, the proposed highways and railways will preclude the development of the Palestinian community in East Jerusalem and will cut the Arab neighborhoods off geographically from one another. These transportation networks will also make it more difficult for Palestinians to reach their land. The plan would also further entrench the settlements in East Jerusalem and the surrounding area, as well as connect them to each other and to cities inside Israel.

A representative of the CCDPRJ, Mr. Khalil al-Tufukji, who is the director of the Maps and Geographical Information Systems Bureau of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem, stated that, “Israel’s policy, as is apparent from the plans and on the ground, aims to create a fundamental demographic shift in Jerusalem as the “eternal capital” of the State of Israel to ensure a solid Jewish majority.  The Israeli authorities have allocated a very large amount of public funding to the construction of new settlements and to expanding existing settlements, and also to turning Jerusalem into a ‘national priority area’ in order to attract new Jewish residents from the center of Israel.”

Summary of the Objection (English)
The Objection (Hebrew)

For more information, see Adalah's Briefing Paper on the Eastern Ring Road (English)