NIS 50 million budget approved for plan to regulate all east Jerusalem land in the next seven years, while ministers oppose proposal to sanction government ministries that have yet to move to the capital.

The Israeli government allocated some NIS 2.5 billion on Sunday to bolster Jerusalem, including NIS 50 million for the regulation of all lands in east Jerusalem.

The move, which will see all east Jerusalem lands registered within the next seven years, is meant to further strengthen Israeli sovereignty in the contested eastern part of the city, a day before the US moves its embassy to the capital.

The Justice Ministry’s Land Registration and Settlement of Rights Department was tasked with leading the move, which was an initiative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality.

East Jerusalem (Photo: Lin Levy)
East Jerusalem (Photo: Lin Levy)


This would be the first time Israel applies sovereignty to east Jerusalem in practice since it officially annexed it in 1980.

The residents are expected to benefit from the move, as anyone who claims ownership over land would be able to file a petition to the Registration Commissioner and be officially recognized by the state as the land’s owner. If contradictory claims are made, a court will be required to rule on the matter.

The Land Registration and Settlement of Rights Department has already begun the process of regulating the lands in east Jerusalem over the past month.

According to the proposal approved on Sunday, at least 50 percent of the land registrations in east Jerusalem will be completed by the end of 2021, while the rest will be completed by 2025.

The plan will also see industrial zones built in east Jerusalem on some 260 dunams.

A team headed by the Justice Ministry director-general, which will include representatives from relevant ministries, will accompany the move. After a year, the team will be tasked with examining the progress made.

Another team led by the head of the Finance Ministry’s Administration of Planning, which will also include representatives from relevant ministries, will be tasked with examining ways to remove barriers in planning and in connecting east Jerusalem neighborhoods to the city’s sewage and water infrastructure.

A third team led by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry will work with the residents of the eastern neighborhoods in an effort to carry out the decision with their consent and cooperation.

East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem


“A day before Jerusalem is bolstered by the move of the American embassy to the municipality, and after decades have passed since the applying of Israeli sovereignty in east Jerusalem, we’re empowering the city and applying sovereignty in practice,” Justice Minister Shaked said.

“This is important to the residents of east Jerusalem as well, as in the absence of such a move, those who own lands are unable to exercise their right to these lands, including by receiving building permits. Sovereignty and the benefit of the residents go hand-in-hand.”

Bill sanctioning government ministries yet to move to Jerusalem struck down

Meanwhile, the ministers opposed one proposal Sunday to sanction government ministries that have yet to move all of their units and departments to Jerusalem.

According to the proposal, submitted by Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, fines will be given to ministries that don’t move to the capital, while their rents will be doubled.

The sanctions are meant to help implement a 2007 government decision on the matter.

Ministers objecting to the sanctions argued there is no suitable supply of office space in the capital to house all ministries.

In response, Elkin said only a handful of government units sought the help of the Finance Ministry’s Government Housing Administration to find suitable solutions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to postpone the discussion on the proposal and asked the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry to submit a new plan on the matter within a month.

A study recently published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies found that the move of government units to the capital would have a great financial impact to the city. According to the study, moving government units to Jerusalem would add some NIS 400 million a year to the city’s economy and add 10,000 jobs in the capital.

As reported by Ynetnews