In the shadow of the coronavirus crisis, the Nature and Parks Authority is carrying out development work in the Ben Hinnom Valley in areas that are the subject of legal proceedings
In June, the Jerusalem Municipality issued public gardening orders for private land owned by Palestinians for the purpose of development work near the Elad Foundation’s café in Abu Tor. The works are taking place despite the fact that the landowners petitioned, and the gardening orders are still under deliberation in the courts.
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, workers for the Nature and Parks Authority, accompanied by inspectors began to carry out development work in the Ben Hinnom Valley on privately owned Palestinian land. This despite the fact that the gardening orders are the subject of a current legal dispute.
Last June, the Jerusalem Municipality issued public gardening orders for a number of privately owned plots of land, covering an area of about 25 dunams. The law provides that the Municipality may issue temporary orders (which can be extended by the issuance of a new order) for the use of privately-owned empty plots of land, for the benefit of the public, for the purpose of building parking lots, public gardens, etc. Since the land in question is located within the Jerusalem Walls National Park, within which building is prohibited, the landowners are unable to make use of their land, leaving it vulnerable to public gardening orders. In this case, the gardening orders in effect constitute expropriation of the land.
The owners of the land in question petitioned the court and some of the gardening orders were revoked, while others are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings. This has not stopped the Nature and Parks Authority from carrying out development work on part of the land in question. The landowners petitioned the court which issued a stop work order, however it applies to only one of the plots, and the Nature and Parks Authority is continuing work on other plots. The owners of the additional plots intend to petition the court as well.
Emek Shaveh: Erasing the boundary between East and West Jerusalem is apparently vital and urgent for the economy. Otherwise it is unclear why when the entire country is in a state of emergency, thousands are quarantined and many have been instructed not to go to their work places, the Nature and Parks Authority has decided that this was the best time to carry out development work, the legality of which is being contested in court.