Israeli Supreme Court defers decision in Absentee Property cases in E. Jerusalem

[ PIC 11/09/2013 – 07:34 PM ]

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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to defer consideration of the issue of the applicability of the Absentee Property Law, which has been used to take over Palestinian land, in occupied East Jerusalem.

Lawyer Suhad Bishara from Adalah center for Palestinian rights and lawyer Avigdor Feldman raised the problematic implications associated with the application of the law in occupied East Jerusalem. Additionally, the attorneys emphasized that applying the law to the occupied territory violates the International Humanitarian Law.

The two lawyers also pointed that the Israeli domestic law was legislated in the political context of 1950, and declared that it could never apply on lands occupied in 1967 and to confiscate properties belonging to residents that are protected civilians under international law.

In addition, the attorneys stated that the state does not apply the Absentee Property Law to the properties of settlers in the West Bank, and thus, its exclusive application to the properties of Palestinians constitutes unlawful discrimination.

The court, presided over by Supreme Court President Asher D. Grunis, asked all of the parties to provide legal opinions on its suggestion to declare the law’s application in east Jerusalem unconstitutional, and to give their own ideas on whether this decision should be applied retroactively or only prospectively.

Adalah will provide its legal opinion on this subject in the coming week. Adalah had requested permission to join the case as an amicus curie for the purpose of legal argument.

In an opinion presented to the Court, Adalah argued that the opinion of Attorney General Weinstein to apply the Absentee Property Law to East Jeruslem changes the existing decades-long status quo that has been supported by successive attorney generals since 1967, whereupon the law does not apply to the East Jerusalem properties of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.



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