The Absentee Property Law and Implementation in East Jerusalem

NRC|Published 15. May 2013
This paper describes the application of the Absentee Property Law (APL) in East Jerusalem, which affects many transactions involving transfer of property and imposes severe limitations on residents seeking to obtain building permits and initiate planning processes.

The APL has been used over the years as a central means by which Palestinian-owned property in East Jerusalem is transferred to settlers. Following a background of the legislative process and the purposes underlying its enactment, this study details the APL’s main provisions and its application in East Jerusalem. Changes in Israeli policies regarding implementation of the APL in East Jerusalem are presented, with a focus on the role of the Israeli courts.

This study illustrates that, to date, the conservative approach adopted by the Israeli courts has assisted in facilitating the various APL enforcement mechanisms in East Jerusalem. An international law perspective concludes this paper.

This report has been published by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), with assistance from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA).