Yesterday (14 December), the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled to dismiss without prejudice the petition filed against the General Custodian by Ir Amim along with Sheikh Jarrah residents. The plaintiffs maintain the right to file a new petition on the same matter.
Since the state had theoretically fulfilled the demands of the petition by producing regulations for its property management, albeit just three days before the hearing, the court stated that the premise of the petition is no longer relevant.
As detailed in Ir Amim's prior alert, the petition centered on the General Custodian's absence of official procedural regulations pertaining to its management of assets in East Jerusalem and the manner in which it exercises its authority under article five of the 1970 law. The petition cited that this lack of regulations enables severe misconduct and collaboration with settler groups to initiate evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, which severely infringes on the rights of Palestinians in the city.
Although Ir Amim argued that the newly submitted regulations do not specifically pertain to East Jerusalem nor address the unique circumstances created under the 1970 law regarding East Jerusalem assets, the court nevertheless dismissed the petition, citing that such arguments must be raised within a new updated petition.
Ir Amim and Sheikh Jarrah residents are currently weighing the next course of action.
It should be underscored, however, that in the meantime, the General Custodian – a division with the Ministry of Justice -- is continuing unabated to exploit this absence of regulations specific to East Jerusalem to facilitate more evictions of Palestinians and settler takeovers of their properties. Moreover, it was has been recently uncovered that the General Custodian, in an acutely unprecedented move, is now advancing outline plans for new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem in lockstep with its formal settlement of title/land registration procedures allegedly initiated for the benefit of Palestinians.