The Subjugation clause through the back door? Or: how Ayelet Shaked protects Elad from the High Court

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked issued an order to the courts for administrative matters, according to which legal petitions against the Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) will no longer be heard in the High Court, but only in the District Court. Only appeals to the District Court rulings will reach the High Court. By issuing this order, Shaked is in fact granting the INPA legal protection against public petitions to the high court. We won’t be surprised if Elad’s interests in  the “City of David” are the motive behind this unusual decision.

In our estimation, Shaked’s extraordinary decision has to do with Elad and the INPA’s joint management of the “City of David”. This would not be the first time the Minister of Justice makes an intervention in proceedings in order  to help  Elad. The last time this happened, in 2015, the CEO of her office, Emi Palmor, demanded  a rehearing of the Kedem Center plan at the National Council for Planning and Construction, a move that basically cancelled out the planning authorities’ decision to reduce the size of the Kedem Center building.

Over the last few years, Emek Shaveh petitioned to the High Court against the INPA on several occasions. These legal struggles mostly dealt with the problematic relationship between the INPA, a governmental body, with Elad, a private organization led by a political agenda of settling in East Jerusalem. Shaked’s present decision, which shields Elad and the INPA from the authority of the High Court, will allow Elad to continue its activities with even greater room for maneuver.

As of this decision on April 12, 2018, a single judge from the District Court will be hearing any new appeals submitted by our organization and others, or those submitted by residents. While it is still possible to appeal to the High Court against the district court rulings, this will become a lengthy, cumbersome and expensive process, which will buy the INPA and Elad more time to act, free of legal interventions and restraint.

The new regulations are mainly detrimental to the residents of East Jerusalem who live in Silwan, A-Tur, Issawiya, and a-Walaja – who own land in territories that have been declared as national parks. This decision will make it easier for the authorities and for settlers to operate with greater ease in the national parks in East Jerusalem and advance a political reality where Palestinian landowners are mistreated and where Jerusalem is Judaized through archaeological, touristic and other initiatives.

To read the regulations (in Hebrew): (section 15 .5 .1).

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