Jerusalem District Planning Committee Rejects Objection to Planned Landfill and National Park on ‘Anata and Al-‘Issawiyya

Adalah and Civic Coalition: Plan serves political goals of the occupying power in violation of international law, and disregards development needs of Palestinian residents.

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee has rejected an objection filed against a plan to construct a landfill and national park on approximately 500 dunams of private land belonging to Palestinians from the villages of ‘Anata (pop. 20,000) and Al-'Issawiyya (pop. 12,000) in East Jerusalem. The plan will involve the confiscation of the land and the transfer of its ownership to the Jerusalem Municipality. This land is vital for the planning and development of the two villages.


The objection to the plan was submitted by Adalah in cooperation with the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ) on 30 December 2012 on behalf of the ‘Anata Local Council. The objectors argued that the plan would result in the destruction of large numbers of houses based on the pretext that they were built illegally and that they impeded the implementation of the plan.


The planning committee based its decision on the claim that the land slated for confiscation is unsuitable for the development and planning of the two villages, since it is separated from them by main roads and infrastructure previously approved by the committee.


The objectors stated that if implemented, the plan would block the development of ‘Anata and Al-‘Issawiyya, cutting its residents off from the Palestinian territories. It would simultaneously ensure contiguity between Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the E1 area, and the Jerusalem municipality. The outlines of the plan correspond to the path of the Separation Wall, which divides the residential areas of ‘Anata from the village’s lands that fall within the confines of the plan.


Commenting on the decision, Adalah Attorney Myssana Morany stated that the planned committee had completely ignored the inconsistency of the plan with international humanitarian law, as the plan causes harm to private property without any urgent military necessity. Attorney Morany added that the plan serves the political goals of the occupying power in the area, and thus its basic goal is illegitimate and in violation of international law. The planning authorities have also disregarded, over the course many years, the development needs of the people of the two villages, and drafted plans for the area that seek only to tightly restrict their Palestinian population under the guise of ‘development’.  She concluded that the decision constituted a new chapter in the planning authorities’ colonial policy of land confiscation in East Jerusalem.


Zakaria Odeh, the director of the CCPRJ, described the decision as “one of the systematic policies that the Israeli authorities have pursued since the beginning of the Occupation in 1967, which aim to establish Israeli control over the city of Jerusalem and to expel its indigenous population. The plan is designed to appropriate hundreds of dunams of land and forcibly displace hundreds of the Palestinians who live in the area.” He added that: “The strategic importance of the plan lies in its targeting of an area that is regarded as the eastern gateway to Jerusalem, since it constitutes a continuation of the plan for the E1 settlement bloc, which extends to the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. If fully implemented, the plan will cut off the southern West Bank from the north and preclude the establishment of a Palestinian state.”