Prejudiced Democracy
Israel Endeavor to Legitimize Allocation of Proclaimed State Land only to its Jewish Residents

Prejudiced Democracy <br> Israel Endeavor to Legitimize Allocation of Proclaimed State Land only to its Jewish Residents

When reading Zionist Israeli literature, and reading the Zionist political thoughts and practical strategy carried out through successive Israeli governments over the past six decades, it becomes evident that the land has always formed the core of the conflict, the essence of war, and the Zionism axis of thought and strategy. Prior to the establishment of the Israeli State, the Zionist terrorist organizations carried out vicious and bloody terrorist attacks acts to coercively seize the land from its Palestinian owners and replace to set up the Zionist entity. Hence, it was no surprise when the Israeli Knesset gave out Preliminary approval of legislation to allocate all land properties of the Jewish National Fund – JNF (Keren Kaymeth le-Israel) to Jews only, which could be an indication of what the state of Israel will enact to legislate in the future; more racist and intolerant laws.


The JNF was founded at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel upon an earlier suggestion by Zvi Hermann Schapira to create an organization to buy and develop land in Palestine for Jewish settlement , 'lands that would be “the perpetual property of the Jewish People,” i.e. property that would never be expropriated from them'. After Israel’s controversial formation in 1948, a debate over the future of JNF went for some time. Initially the political establishment wanted to dismantle it, however, when the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194, article 11 calling for the return of the Palestinian refugees, an evaluation of the JNF role was seen in different perspective, as it became a mechanism to keep lands previously owned by Arab inhabitants (now refugees) permanently out of their reach. In 1953, the JNF was restructured as an Israeli company but the spirit of which it was founded remained in tact. A more tangible and somehow revolutionary change occurred in 1960, as the administration of the Israeli land (forests not included) were transferred from the JNF, to the control of  a newly formed Israeli government agency called the 'Israel Land Administration' – ILA -, which consequently became responsible for managing 93% of Israel’s land. More than that, the original JNF continues to have rights as they nominate 10 of the 22 ILA boards of directors.


The 'Jewish National fund' established by secular Jews, similar to a  model employed in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century for similar purpose, to dominate and seize land territory belong to Polish peasants’. Ultimately, the objectives of the Jewish National Fund has nothing to do with the Jewish religion, but more  with colonial ideology, which is why, the sale of land to non-Jews is considered illegitimate.

Concluding observations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Israel. 04/12/98

10. The Committee expresses concern that excessive emphasis upon the State as a 'Jewish State' encourages discrimination and accords a second-class status to its non-Jewish citizens. The Committee notes with concern that the Government of Israel does not accord equal rights to its Arab citizens, although they comprise over 19 per cent of the total population. This discriminatory attitude is apparent in the lower standard of living of Israeli Arabs as a result, inter alia, of lack of access to housing, water, electricity and health care and their lower level of education. The Committee also notes with concern that despite the fact that the Arabic language has official status in law, it is not given equal importance in practice.


11. The Committee notes with grave concern that the Status Law of 1952 authorizes the World Zionist Organization/Jewish Agency and its subsidiaries, including the Jewish National Fund, to control most of the land in Israel, since these institutions are chartered to benefit Jews exclusively. Despite the fact that the institutions are chartered under private law, the State of Israel nevertheless has a decisive influence on their policies and thus remains responsible for their activities. A State party cannot divest itself of its obligations under the Covenant by privatizing governmental functions. The Committee takes the view that large-scale and systematic confiscation of Palestinian land and property by the State and the transfer of that property to these agencies constitute an institutionalized form of discrimination because these agencies by definition would deny the use of these properties to non-Jews. Thus, these practices constitute a breach of Israel's obligations under the Covenant.


Nowadays JNF –KKL claim possession of more than 20 % of the West Bank territory, which seriously raises questions with regard to the validity of such claims under international law and how will this affect the final status negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. While this Controversial Legislation remains debatable, Israel continues to seize Palestinians’ lands, using integrated discriminatory laws against its non-Jewish citizens.


On the Outskirts of Jerusalem  

Since the beginning of 2007, Jerusalem's Planning and Construction Committee approved several plans to build three new Jewish neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. While the Palestinian citizens of the city live under adverse circumstances: (lack of Arab neighborhoods development, the Non-issuance of building license and incessant demolishing of Palestinian houses) just to name some of the obstacles, the Palestinian Jerusalemites face go through under the administration of the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem.


The projects of the three Jewish neighborhoods on the outskirts of East Israeli intended to expand the territorial land of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem, and thus manipulate the demography of the occupied city in favor of Jewish majority. The new neighborhoods will pave the way for the forethought of “Greater Jerusalem”, which is to include the Gush Etzion settlements bloc by constructing Giv’at Ya’el settlement (20,000 units) south of the city, and Giv’at Ze’ev settlements bloc by constructing Atarot settlement (11,000 housing units) north of the city and Ma’ale Adumim settlements bloc by constructing the “E1” project (3500 housing units) east of Jerusalem.




Map 1: Greater Jerusalem



An Israeli source revealed that the Israeli Lands Administration (ILA) working with the Jewish “Ateret Cohanim Association” to allocate the latter 30 Dunums (7.5 acres) of land in East Jerusalem, even  without an organized tender (even just for pretend). Ateret Cohanim is a well-known Jewish Association for its ventures to establish and settle Jews in occupied East Jerusalem with particular emphasis in the Old City of Jerusalem, aiming to “Judaize” the city. The land in question is Karem Al-Mufti; it is located within Al Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.


In 2005, Irwin Moskowitz an American-Jewish pioneer of private Israeli neighborhoods initiatives has revealed a plan to establish yet another one of his infamous, illegal neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. This pioneer of private initiatives has contributed to increase the illegal residency of Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem to extreme levels, only to be surmounted by the Israeli State itself.




Map 2: Israeli plan in Karm Al-Mufti Area



Back to the time when Ma'ale Adumim was just an illegal outpost with few caravans, it was up to raiders like Moskowitz to turn the table around and provide it with all the support and resources necessary to launch into what became the biggest existing Israeli settlement in occupied West Bank and one of the major impediments to realizing the Palestinian dreams of an independent contiguate Palestinian State and to the entire peace process as a whole. From that time on, Moskowitz continued to fuel private initiatives and private projects to increase the number of Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem; Burj Al-Laqlaq, Ras Al-Amoud, Abu Dis, Al Tur (Beit Orot) neighborhoods are among many in East Jerusalem where Moskowitz coarsely and cunningly sized Palestinian lands to mutate Palestinian neighborhoods.


At the near end of the year 2005, the planning committee at the Israeli Jerusalem municipality initiated the first step to the latest Moskowitz project to De-Palestinize (Israelize) occupied East Jerusalem by authorizing demolition order of the Shepherd Hotel located in Karem Al-Mufti at the Palestinian Al-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The demolition order will pave the way for Moskowitz to bring to fruition his longing that started in 1985; the time when he acquired the Shepherd Hotel site from the Israeli custodian of absentee property who has taken control of the hotel following the 1967 war, despite the fact the heirs of the rightful owner of the hotel (Grand Mufti Al-Haj Amin Al-Husseni) are still very much alive, and has been long legal residents of Jerusalem prior to the establishment of the state of Israel. In addition to the demolition order, Moskowitz is sought to obtain multiple city committee approvals to add to the application file number 11536 submitted to the Israeli Jerusalem municipality to build a complex project on 30 Dunums (including the land where the hotel is standing), which is set to contain 90 housing units, kindergarten and a synagogue. The plan for the new Israeli neighborhood will form the missing link between the illegal Jewish neighborhoods stretching from Mount Scopus (south of Shepherd hotel) where Shimo’n Hassidic Tomb area became residence to some 8 Israeli families with an additional 4 dozen of yeshiva students and a cluster of various governments institutions including the national police headquarter to the north.


Phase-one of Greater Plot

Moskowitz plans for the new illegal neighborhood goes much further than the immediate threat that hunts the shepherd hotel and its surrounding area to include an entire quarter in the Al Sheikh Jarrah area called Karem Al-Mufti. In addition to the 30 Dunums that encompass the shepherd hotel and the lands surrounding it; an additional 110 Dunums (mostly cultivated with olive trees) of Karem Al-Mufti area falls under threat of being reclassified from an open and public space area to residential area once plans are developed to build a Jewish neighborhood.


Precedents to such activity took place in many areas, where the Israeli Jerusalem municipality reclassified the status of the mountain areas from nature reserve to residential area, the most infamous of which are the Abu Ghanim Mountain  and the Shu’fat hill cases; known toady as Har-Homa and Reches Shu’fat settlements.


To conclude,

The fact that the Israeli parliament approved in preliminary readings the Jewish National Fund Bill in July 2007 is not surprising as it comes to legitimize Israeli racist practice and the policy of land dispossession. Furthermore, it will seriously trim down the areas of land that Israel may surrender to Palestinian in the event of final status negotiations.




Prepared by
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Reports