Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jerusalem Court freezes plans to construct a "national park" in al-Tur and al-Issawiya

The Jerusalem Central Court recently announced that it has frozen plans to construct a so-called "national park" in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods of at-Tur and al-Issawiya (on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus).  The decision was prompted by a petition from The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, which argued that it is the right of those effected by the construction of the park to understand its significance, as well as the right to object to its construction.  The city has until the beginning of February to respond.

The land upon which the park would be built is owned by the residents of at-Tur and Issawiya.  The construction of the park, then, would in effect prevent the property owners from building on this land.  This is one of the many strategies adopted by the Jerusalem Municipality to prevent the Arab population of Jerusalem from expanding.  The other purpose of the constructing this "national park," as Terrestrial Jerusalem has pointed out, "is to be a link between the two concentric encirclements of Palestinian East Jerusalem: the inner encirclement of the Old City and its visual basin, as designated by the governmental Old City Basin Project, and the outer encirclement in Greater Jerusalem, as disclosed by the E-1 plan between Ma'ale Adumim and East Jerusalem.  The new national park will be a bridge, creating a geographical link between the Old City basin and E-1."

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