Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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The Absentee Property Law and it’s Implementation in East JerusalemThe Absentee Property Law is a law used by Israel to expropriate the property of Palestinians who are considered to be ‘absentees’ from their land, even when this the result of their involuntary displacement from their land and property. Ownership rights in the property vest with the Custodian of Absentee Property, who can sell the land to Israeli individuals or entities.  Whilst the implementation of this law within Israel consitutes a violation of international law, the use of this law in East Jerusalem is even more problematic as East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied West Bank and the implementation of Israeli domestic law is prohibited under international humanitarian law.  The usage of this law in East Jerusalem has the potential to strip many Palestinians who are resident in the West Bank, and who have never left their places of residence, of their property in East Jerusalem, also part of the West Bank, on the basis that they are now ‘absentees’ from their land.  The report considers the historical background to the law, as well the procedures for declaring land as ‘absentee property’, the consequent management and release of the property to others and judicial interpretation of the law  The report focuses on the legal and practical implications of the usage of this law in East Jerusalem and critiques the law against a framework of international humanitairian and human rights law.

The report is available here. This report is also available in Arabic

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