Al Walajeh under Heightened Risk of Mass Demolition after State Files Motion to Dismiss Appeal

06 July 2021
Last week, the state filed a motion to dismiss the Al Walajeh residents' appeal pending at the Supreme Court along with the injunction currently protecting 38 homes from demolition in the Jerusalem portion of the village. In the event that the appeal is dismissed, the injunction would be lifted, placing the 38 homes at imminent risk of being razed and some 300 Palestinians under threat of largescale displacement. Since the demolitions would fall under the jurisdiction of the National Enforcement Unit, they would likely be executed very swiftly.

The court has given the residents' attorney until July 11 to submit a formal response to the state's motion to dismiss.

This appeal was filed by the community in 2018 against the planning authorities' refusal to discuss the residents' outline plan, which would authorize their homes and enable further residential development. As previously noted, the Israeli authorities have consistently neglected to prepare an outline plan for the area, which precludes the possibility of obtaining building permits. Many families are forced to build without permits, thereby placing their homes at risk of demolition. In an attempt to legalize their homes, the residents over the years took it upon themselves to prepare an outline plan, which the authorities had routinely declined to review.

As a result of a court order in May 2020, the District Planning Committee ultimately convened to discuss the community's plan and earlier this year, rejected it based on unfounded and contradictory claims. For further background details concerning the acute situation in the Jerusalem section of Al-Walaje, see here.

According to the District Committee, since it complied with the court's order and eventually discussed the plan, the residents' appeal is no longer relevant and should therefore be dismissed.

It should be noted that, on May 2, 2021, an administrative petition was filed to the District Court by the residents together with Bimkom, Ir Amim, and NRC against the District Committee's rejection of the plan. The hearing has been scheduled for October 31, 2021.

As reported previously, a discussion on objections to the plan (TPS YOSH-938) for expansion of the Al-Walaja bypass road (Road 385) was held at the Higher Planning Council of the Israeli Civil Administration on June 21, 2021. As of today, no decision has yet to be published.
Ir Amim will continue to update on any further developments.

The Jerusalem section of Al-Walaje under mass demolition threat is marked by the  purple circle.