Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY - Israeli ministry of Justice starts a new process of Judaizing large parcel of lands in occupied Jerusalem by registering ownership of land adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem for Jews.
Haaretz paper reported on Sunday that Israel has used the funding earmarked for narrowing economic disparities and improving the quality of life of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, to register land for Jews, while Palestinians are generally leery of cooperating with the effort.
It noted that the registry process started last week, and include the land at the Ophel Archaeological Park, which lies between the City of David National Park and Buraq wall.
The registration process in the area could spark protests from the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust that administers the mosque compound, and from the Palestinians and the Jordanians, among others, the report read.
The report pointed out that the official in charge of land registration in Jerusalem, David Rotenberg, has over the last two years, following a 2018 cabinet decision, began the registration process for a number of parcels in the east of the city.
The step that faced a wide opposition of human rights groups in Jerusalem, planning organizations and Ir Amim, an Israeli nonprofit whose stated mission is to make Jerusalem a more “equitable and sustainable city for the Israelis and Palestinians who share it.
In the predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, for example,the registration process has been completed and nearly all of the land registered to Jews, the paper said.
Additional registration work has begun in a number of other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. All of this is being conducted with funding originally earmarked “to create a better future for the residents of the East of the city,” as the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry described it.
The 2018 cabinet resolution that preceded the registry push included a five-year plan to reduce socioeconomic disparities in East Jerusalem, with funding of more than 2 billion shekels ($580 million) through a number of government ministries.
Under pressure from Ayelet Shaked, the justice minister at the time, the Justice Ministry also received funding to establish a land registry system for East Jerusalem.
After the reunification of the city following the 1967 Six Day War, Israel stopped land registration in that part of the city, and more than 90 percent of the land in East Jerusalem remains unregistered, adding to chaos in city planning there. It makes it difficult to obtain construction permits or to plan Palestinian neighborhoods in the city as well as fosters a real estate black market.
“The land [registration] that has been advanced through the resolution, which was meant to benefit the Palestinian residents of the city, is being exploited by the government in a cynical manner to steal their land and so that the state can take control of land and advance the interests of the Jewish settlers in the east of the city. Now things have already been stepped up a notch. The [registration] next to the Al-Aqsa Mosque is an attempt at Israeli control of the most sensitive area of the city,” Gal Yanovsky, a lawyer who is involved in policy planning for the Ir Amim nonprofit said.