The announcement made by the United States (US) on 6 December 2017 to move its embassy to Jerusalem and officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in stark violation of international law, consolidated its policy towards Israelâs occupation of East Jerusalem and annexation of West Jerusalem. On 21 December 2017, in response to the US declaration, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted resolution ES-10/19, with 128 countries in favour and nine against, declaring any action to alter the character of Jerusalem ânull and void.âÂ The aforementioned resolution âaffirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect [âŠ] and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.âÂ The resolution also calls on âstates to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to Council resolution 478 (1980).â
While the international community articulated a clear position that condemned the US recognition of Jerusalem, the US government proceeded to relocate its embassy on 14 May 2018. In the aftermath of the relocation, Paraguay and Guatemala proceeded with the unlawful relocation of their own embassies to Jerusalem, while Romania and the Czech Republic (both member states of the European Union) and Honduras have also announced plans to relocate to Jerusalem. These unlawful moves not only serve to recognize Israelâs illegal alteration in Jerusalem, entrenching Israelâs illegal annexation of the city, they have also served to embolden Israelâs forcible transfer of Palestinians from Jerusalem.
On 1 January 2018, the Israeli Parliament passed an amendment to the âBasic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israelâ. The amendment raises to 80 Knesset Members the majority needed to give up Israeli control over any part of Jerusalem. With the goal of achieving a Jewish demographic majority in the city, the Israeli government is planning to remove from Jerusalemâs municipal jurisdiction Palestinian neighbourhoods already separated by the annexation wall, such as Kufr âAqab, Shuâfat Refugee Camp, and Anata, comprising some 140,000 Palestinians. The Israeli military has subsequently announced that it will take âsecurity controlâ over these neighbourhoods. Meanwhile, the settlements of Maâale Adumim, Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar Illit, and Givâat Zeâev, amongst others in the Jerusalem periphery, containing approximately 150,000 settlers, are to be annexed and will act as sub-municipalities of Jerusalem, according to the so-called âGreater Jerusalemâ billsÂ under consideration by Israelâs Parliament.
In March 2018, the Israeli Parliament passed an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law (1952) that authorizes the Israeli Minister of Interior to revoke the Permanent Residency Status of Palestinian Jerusalemites claimed to have been involved in âterrorismâ or who have allegedly committed acts that constitute âbreach of loyaltyâ. On 19 March, the Director of Land Registration at Israelâs Ministry of Justice announced the mandatory opening of registration of lands in Â East Jerusalem whereas the Israeli cabinet approved the allocation of USD 14 million for land settlement process.
Israelâs Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked was quoted as saying: âthe start of land settlement of title and registration in East Jerusalem [is] a step toward promoting Israeli sovereignty and control over the city.âÂ She added that, â[t]he day before the strengthening of Jerusalem through the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem, and after decades of Israeli sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem, we are strengthening the city and actually applying sovereignty through the program of land regulation in East Jerusalemâ.
This policy violates Palestinian rights and breaches international humanitarian law, whereas this situation almost always results in the conversion of lands into âstate propertyâ due to lack of availability of âproof of ownershipâ by Palestinian current landowners. This will also allow the re-implantation of the Absentee Property Law, which allows the state to seize, manage, lease, transform, and sell the properties of Palestinians who are declared âabsenteesâ.
On 13 May 2018, the Israeli cabinet voted to allocate USD 56 millionÂ to compel Palestinian schools, through financial incentives, to teach the Israeli curriculum. The Israeli Ministry of Education approved a plan in March 2018 to only provide financial support to schools that teach the Israeli curriculum in East Jerusalem, as part of the âIsraelizationâ of East Jerusalem education, implemented since the start of its occupation. The Israeli cabinet also earmarked USD 13.1 million for excavations in the neighbourhood of Silwan, which according to the remarks accompanying the plan, will continue the âresearch and development of sites in ancient Jerusalem via ongoing government activity.â
Israelâs Annexationist Policies and Practices in Annexed Jerusalem
Israel has used its domestic law and institutions to unlawfully alter the character, status, and demographic composition of Jerusalem in favour of an Israeli-Jewish majority, including through the forcible transfer of Palestinians.
Accordingly, we call on the member states of the UN Human Rights Council to:
Â UN General Assembly,Â General Assembly resolution ES-10/19, 21 December 2017.
Â Bill for the Jerusalem and Its Daughters Law, P/20/4386; Bill for the Jerusalem and Its Daughters Law â 2017 , P/20/4109; and Proposed Greater Jerusalem Law, P/20/4158.
Â Khalil Tofakji, The Department of Maps and Geographic Information Systems at the Arab Studies Society, 20 March 2018.
Â Ynet News, âGovernment allocates NIS 2.5 billion to bolster Jerusalemâ, 13 May 2018, available at:Â https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5259682,00.html.
Â Haaretz, âCabinet Approves Billions to Ramp Up Israeli Sovereignty in East Jerusalemâ, 17 May 2018, available at:Â https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-cabinet-oks-billions-to-ramp-up-israeli-sovereignty-in-e-j-lem-1.6078168.
Â Absentee Properties Law 5710 â 1950, available at:Â https://www.adalah.org/uploads/oldfiles/Public/files/Discriminatory-Laws-Database/English/04-Absentees-Property-Law-1950.pdf
Â Supra note 7.
Â France 24, âIsraeli cabinet allocates $2 billion to expand sovereignty in East Jerusalemâ, 14 May 2018, available at:Â https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/israel/174662-180514-israeli-cabinet-allocates-2-billion-to-expand-sovereignty-in-east-jerusalem
Â Department of Maps and Geographic Information Systems at the Arab Studies Society, Database, 17 May 2018.
Â Khalil Tofakji, Settlement in Jerusalem, 1 September 2017, available in Arabic at:Â https://drive.google.com/file/d/1PQGZ1oHiWTtSh1k6_CS10OSObHo-pitm/view.
Â HaMoked, âQuiet Deportationâ, 10 April 2018, available at:Â http://www.hamoked.org/Document.aspx?dID=Updates1975.Â
Â ACRI, âEast Jerusalem 2017: Facts and Figuresâ, 12 May 2017, available at:Â Â https://www.acri.org.il/en/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Facts-and-Figures-2017.pdf.
Â Supra note 14.
Â Statistics from Al-Haqâs Monitoring and Documentation Department, available at:Â http://www.alhaq.org/images/thumbnails/images/stories/Images/House%20demolition%20statement_Final%205%20March%202018.pdf.
Â In its March 2016 session, the UN Human Rights Council adopted resolution 31/36 which aims to produce a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements to highlight corporate complicity in the Israeli occupation.