Settlements and National Parks


Absentees Against Their Will – Property Expropriation in East Jerusalem under the Absentee Property Law

The State of Israel, in its early days, enacted the Absentee Property Law in order to regulate transfer of Palestinian refugee property into the hands of the state. Subjugating East Jerusalem to Israeli law since 1967 has had the potential to render the majority of houses in East Jerusalem “absentee property.” This report reviews the Israeli judicial system’s inconsistent application of the Absentee Property Law in East Jerusalem, and illustrates the risks involved in changing the government policy towards East Jerusalem as adopted in 1967.   
Evictions and Settlement Plans in Sheikh Jarrah: The Case of Shimon HaTzadik

This report aims to clarify the historical-legal background of evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. It places the recent controversy in the context of an ongoing set of development plans that threaten to spark a dangerous escalation of the conflict in the city and to preclude an agreed-upon political resolution in Jerusalem. It includes Ir Amim's recommendations that current eviction proceedings and settlement plans must be frozen.

Israeli Settlement in Palestinian Communities in East Jerusalem

This document provides a snapshot of one of the major threats to a negotiated resolution in Jerusalem: the accelerated process of Israeli settlement in Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem (as of August 2009).
Making Bricks Without Straw: The Jerusalem Municipality’s New Planning Policy for East Jerusalem

This report issued by Ir Amim and Bimkom examines the municipality’s new planning policy and concludes that the current planning realities in East Jerusalem serve to thwart, de facto, nearly every Palestinian building plan whether at the stage of approving the plan itself or at the stage of issuing the building permit.
Severe Threat to Al Bustan-Silwan Neighborhood

The Israeli authorities’ actions in the past months bear a renewed danger to the existence of Al Bustan neighborhood of Silwan.  The demolition of almost 90 homes in this sensitive and disputed area is incendiary and could hold grave consequences for the stability of the city.

Shady Dealings in Silwan

This is a comprehensive survey of Israel’s accelerated takeover, through extreme right wing organizations, of large parts of the Silwan village located at the heart of Jerusalem's historical basin. The report strives to expose the state’s problematic conduct in one of the most delicate regions of Jerusalem, and uncover the dangers of uninhibited continuous application of current policies.     
The Giant’s Garden

In June 2010 the Local Planning and Building Subcommittee recommended the Jerusalem Municipality’s plan for "The King's Garden" in the heart of the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan for deposit to the District Committee. Presently, the Municipality is pressuring the District Planning and Building Committee to expedite discussion of the plan. Meanwhile, the Municipality continues to pursue court proceedings for the demolition of dozens of houses in the neighborhood.

The City of David site in the center of Silwan—managed by the Elad settler organization—and additional settlements located throughout the neighborhood have intensified tension with local residents. This report finds that a much larger number of buildings in the al-Bustan neighborhood are expected to be demolished than the number originally declared by the Municipality. Furthermore, the solution offered by the Municipality—a kind of evacuation-construction plan according to which new houses will be constructed before the old ones are demolished—is not feasible; moreover, the Municipality is simultaneously working to cancel the plan.
The Old City and the Historic Basin: Issues of Concern and Recent Developments

Jerusalem’s Old City and its adjacent areas, also referred to as the “Holy Basin” or “Historic Basin”, stand at the center of a bitter struggle between two national narratives (Israeli and Palestinian) and three religious narratives (Jewish, Muslim, and Christian). While this struggle is not new, recent developments threaten to upset the delicate status quo that has long existed between the narratives.  Together, these developments are reducing the conflict to its volatile core -- the battle over the physical embodiments of each side’s narrative. 

Toward a Point of No Return: Lifting the Political Restraints in East Jerusalem

This report outlines Israel’s policy shift in late 2010-early 2011 towards East Jerusalem, following the expiration of the 2010 settlement freeze. This turn for the worse, which occurred simultaneously in numerous policy fields, increased instability in the city and severely harmed any potential commencement of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  
Un-Neighborly Neighbors: The Maale Zeitim Settlement's War of Attrition against the Hamdallah Family

This paper outlines the war of attrition Dr. Irving Moskowitz, patron of the East Jerusalem settlers, is conducting against the Hamdallah family of Ras al-Amud. The Hamdallah household lies adjacent to the settler compound in Ras al-Amud containing its wanton expansion. Accordingly, the settlers and their supporters spare no expense, utilizing the Israeli judicial system in their crusade to evacuate the Hamdallah family out of their home of decades.