Beyond the tender’s political implications, Ir Amim uncovered severe discriminatory elements implicit within the tender itself which directly infringe on the housing rights of the East Jerusalem Palestinian population.
As a result, Ir Amim in conjunction with East Jerusalem residents from areas, including neighborhoods adjacent to Givat Hamatos (i.e. Beit Safafa and Sur Baher), submitted the legal petition. See here
for the petition (Hebrew
Givat Hamatos is one, if not the only remaining land reserve for residential development in East Jerusalem, particularly along the southern perimeter. However, according to the tender, 40% of the homes will be allocated to individuals who are eligible for a government subsidized housing scheme. To qualify, individuals must be a non- homeowner and an Israeli citizen, which entirely precludes EJ Palestinians, as the vast majority do not hold citizenship but rather permanent residency. Not only are they excluded from an affordable subsidized housing option, but only 60% of the apartment supply offered to an Israeli citizen is available to a Palestinian resident, which discriminates on two planes.
The petition therefore calls for the following remedies: 1. to grant Palestinian residents eligibility to qualify for the subsidized apartments on Givat Hamatos, 2. Instruct the state to consider equitably allocating a significant number of affordable apartments to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, 3. Postpone the apartment marketing process for a period of no less than six months to allow for interested Palestinian Jerusalem residents to apply for eligibility for the subsidized housing scheme, or 4. To cancel the subsidized housing scheme and rather sell all apartments on the free market, making them accessible to all.
The petition likewise calls for the issuance of an injunction which would freeze the tender process until the aforementioned items are examined and the tender’s conditions amended.
Under international law, Israel as the occupying power is obliged to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian population of Jerusalem. Likewise, under Israeli law which was unilaterally applied to East Jerusalem following its annexation in 1967, the Israeli authorities bear the responsibility to afford Palestinian residents with equal housing rights without prejudice or discrimination.