Israeli Plans targeted the East Jerusalem News settlement neighborhood in Ash-Sheikh Jarrah
On the 24th of May 2016, the Meyashvei Zion Association revealed a new plan to construct 38 housing units in a public park in the Palestinian neighborhood of Ash Sheikh Jarrah, north of Jerusalem city.
According to Meyashvei Zion Association, which works to confiscate and occupy Palestinian houses and structures in the east Jerusalem and transform the ownerships to the Israeli settlers, new plan aims to construct three buildings each one consist of 12 housing units on a Palestinian public park, at the southwest of Kibaniyat Um Haroun area in Ash-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Furthermore, the aforementioned colonial Association claimed that they owned 31 plots of land in Um Haroun area, and they used only 5 of them, while there is part of these plots inhabited and used by the Palestinian families, where these families will be evacuated during the next stage of the project.
It’s worth to mention, that the targeted area “Kibaniyat Um Haroun neighborhood” which also called “Joust An-Naqa’”, owned by the Palestinian families from Hijazi and As-Sa’di Jerusalemite families. Before the year 1948, these lands were rented to an Association for homeless families included Jewish families. And following the year 1948 these families left the area and moved to live in the western part of Jerusalem city (which became under the Israeli control). Later on and after the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank in the year 1967, a number of settlement associations were established and claimed that these houses and lands owned by the Jewish families.
Settlement plans in the Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood:
The new plan declared by the Meyashvei Zion Association, is not the only settlement plan in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.. During the past recent years, several plans were issued to construct settlements in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where these settlements planned to be constructed on Palestinian lands. Following are some of these settlement plans:
1. Shepherd Hotel: Approved in 1984, Town Planning Scheme (TPS) 2591 permits the construction of 20 housing units on the land of the formerly Palestinian-owned Shepherd Hotel property. An additional Town Plan Scheme (TPS 11536) was approved also to expand on the 1984 plan by building 90 housing units, a synagogue, a kindergarten, and dormitories…. The Shepherd Hotel, which was formerly owned by the Husseini family, was expropriated by the Custodian of Absentee Properties following the occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel in 1967. The Hotel and adjacent land were transferred in 1985 to Ateret Cohanim colonial settlement organization. And in January 2011, the hotel was demolished to make a way for the 20 newly housing units that get the approval from the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem… See the photo below:
2. Kerem HaMufti. Named after its former owner, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Karm el Mufti refers to an old olive grove of around 40 dunams on the eastern slope of Sheikh Jarrah, opposite the Shepherd Hotel. It was expropriated by the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property in 1967, subsequently leased to the Ateret Cohanim settler association, which intends to build 250 housing units in the area.
4. Plan No. 12705 for the construction of “Shimon HaTzadik” settlement in Karm Al Ja’ouni area in Kubaiyat Um Haroun in Ash Sheikh Jarrah. Settler organizations lay claim to 18 dunums of land surrounding a historic tomb in the center of Sheikh Jarrah, with the stated intent of demolishing the existing Palestinian neighborhood to make way for a new 200-unit settlement within the plan No. 12705. Noted that the construction of these 200 housing units for the Israeli settlers will led to the evacuation of 500 Palestinians from their houses. One of the organizations (Meyashvei Zion) already occupies several buildings in the area, houses for around 40 setters and a yeshiva for 50 students..
5. Israeli settlement of Nahlat Shimon is about 200 yards from the more famous Shimon HaTzaddik colonial neighborhood, where on the 2nd of July 2011, the Israeli Local Building Committee approved the construction of 13 housing units for the newly settlement of “Nahlat Shimon”.
6. Plan No. 172783: on the 15th of January 2016, the Israeli Planning and Construction committee in the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem published the approval on the plan scheme No: 101-0172783 to construct new housing building in Ash-Sheik Jarrah neighborhood. According to the plan a 6 story building with 12 housing units will be constructed on 2051.85 square meters of Land. The building will include underground parking and stores. See the photos below:
7. Plan No: 68858: this plan was issued on the 6th of October 2013, wish aims to construct the so called “Ohr Sameach” a yeshiva collage on the Palestinian land of Ash-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Below, a photocopy for the plan:
8. The Amana headquarter settlement in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood: on the 8th of May 2016, the Peace Now organization revealed that the construction of a 9-storey building for Amana headquarter in Ash-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was started. The new building is intended to serve as an office building for the Amana colonial Association – a private entity operating toward establishing and expanding settlements and responsible for many of the illegal outposts in the Territories. The structure is being built within the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and is adjacent to St. Joseph Hospital, which serves the Palestinian population of Jerusalem and the West Bank.
The location of some of the Israeli settlemnet plans in Ash Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood
Occupying Palestinian lands and houses to construct a new settlements
After the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territory including the eastern part of Jerusalem city, the Israeli Occupation Authorities started the confiscation of Palestinian lands and properties in several areas in the Occupied West Bank and especially in the East Jerusalem and the surrounding area, to establish the Israeli settlements and outposts.
And in Ash-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, the Israeli Authorities and the Israeli settlers and their associations cooperated to occupy the Palestinian houses and lands, and to transform their ownership to the Israeli settlers and their colonial associations.
Throughout the years, the Israeli settlers occupied a number of Palestinian houses and the Israeli courts forced the Palestinians to leave their houses under the claim that the ownership of the targeted houses proved by the Israeli settlers. Furthermore, a number of settlements were established in Ash Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, on the private Palestinian owned lands.
And in this case, and on the 22nd of May 2016, the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ruled on the eviction of five Palestinian housing units in the neighborhood of Um Haroun in Ash-Sheikh Jarrah, where the targeted houses are owned by Qiswani Family.
The Court ruled that the Qiswani family must evict its house and leave it to the “Shabali Company”, which owned by Jewish investors affiliated with Jerusalem City Council Member “Arieh King”. Noted that Arieh King also runs a settler organization called “Israel Land Fund”, and he is the one behind the efforts to evict Palestinian families and handover their houses to settlers on Ash-Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood specifically and in East Jerusalem in general.
The house of Qiswani family located in the plot number 38 in Um Haroun neighborhood, and include three housing units, a café and a small collage in an area approximately by 220 square meters. The case of the house of Qiswani family back to the year 2007, when the General Custodian released the property, which until then was rented to the Qiswani family that resided there since 1948, to the Jewish Aricha family. Then, in 2010, the Aricha family sold the majority of the property to the Shabali Company. While the Qiswani family members argued that they have a lease for 20 years, provided to them by Meir Nadav of the General Custodian’s office, the court determined that this document is invalid.
Actually ,this is not the only case where the Palestinian families forced to evict their houses for the interest of Israeli settlers companies and associations, where also on the 12th of December 2012, the Jerusalem District Court rejected the appeal of the Shamasne family against the ruling ordering their eviction from their house in Um Haroun neighborhood in Ash Sheikh Jarrah. For more information about this case follow the link below, where the report published on “Eyes on the Ground in East Jerusalem website” and done by the Peace Now organization :
The Israeli confiscation and targeting of the Palestinian residents and their properties in all parts in the oPt include East Jerusalem are illegal and constitutes a grave breach of the International law rules and conventions:
Article 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads that: 'Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it is independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.'
Article 3 states that 'everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person'.
Article 13 states also that '(1) everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.'
Article 25 states that '(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.'
According to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Israel, as an occupying power is prohibited to demolish Palestinian houses as stated in Article 53 of the Convention which states that: 'Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.
Furthermore the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 also states in Article 49 that “The occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own population into the territories it occupies.” and Article 174 of the same convention “prohibits the 'extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”
Moreover and according to article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement, Israel is forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The article provides 'Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations'.
Also the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965), Article 5 provides that: 'States' Parties undertake to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all of its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights: … (e) in particular … (iii) the right to housing'.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of, December 10, 1948, Article 17 reads: 'No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.' Which means it bans Israel from destroying or confiscating the property of the Palestinians at any case.
Moreover Art. 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907also provides: In addition to the prohibitions provided by special Conventions, it is especially forbidden to destroy or seize the enemy's property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.
UNSCR 242, adopted in November 22, 1967: Calls on Israel to withdraw from the all of the Territory it occupied in its aggression on June 5, 1967.
Also United Nation Security Council Resolution No. 446 of 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories'
Also UNSCR No. 452 of 1979 “calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
Moreover ,UNSCR No. 465 of 1980 'called upon Israel to stop building in the Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and to dismantle all of the Israeli settlements built in the aforementioned territories since the year 1967, and demanding all of the state parties of the UN not to help Israel in building these Illegal settlements'.
In May 2001, the head of the International Red Cross delegation to Israel and the Occupied Territories said that settlements are 'equal in principle to war crimes'. (Note: 'The transfer, the installation of population of the occupying power into the occupied territories is considered as an illegal move and qualified as a 'grave breach.' It's a grave breach, formally speaking, but grave breaches are equal in principle to war crimes', Rene Kosirnik, head of the ICRC delegation to Israel and the OPT, press conference 17 May 2001).
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem