The Israeli District Planning and Building Committee approved on Sunday a plan to annex more than 700 dunams to build the National Gardens on lands belonging to Palestinians living in Issawiya and Al-Tur neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
The Arab Centre for Alternative Planning (ACAP) and Adalah, in coordination with the Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem first appealed in 2013 against the plan, which will confiscate exactly 732 dunums of land from these towns.
According to the appeal, the plan is against international humanitarian law, which prohibits fundamental changes to the occupied territories, and requires that the use of land only benefits the local population in the region.
“The plan prevents the possibility of the development of the town of Issawiya, which today has a population of 15,000 citizens, and the town of Al-Tur, which has a population of 26,000 citizens,” the appeal said.
“The proposed plan will prevent the town’s territorial contiguity between the neighbourhoods and other areas, as well as future development. Furthermore, the plan will link this area with the E1 area and other Israeli settlements.”
They also noted that “the plan comes at the same time as other plans expands to neighbouring regions, which will confiscate more than 500 dunums of land from Anata and Issawiya in order to establish dumps and other infrastructure.”
Adalah and ACAP stressed that this plan is a serious violation of the rights of the Palestinian population, as well as impacting their right to develop their surroundings.
The human rights centres said that this plan destroys vital resources for planning and economic development, as well as hindering the future needs for development of the two towns.
They said that Al-Tur needs an additional 1700 dunams of land to meet the need of its population until 2030, while Issawiya needs more than 1100 dunams of land for the same purpose.