JERUSALEM: The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed an objection on Monday to plans to build the US embassy in Jerusalem on illegally confiscated Palestinian land.
The objection was filed against the Jerusalem District Planning Committee, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and the US ambassador to Israel on behalf of 12 of the descendants of the original Palestinian owners of the land upon which the State Department is seeking to build.
Four of the descendants are US citizens, three are Jordanians, and five are East Jerusalem residents.
The original owners’ land was confiscated by Israel under the Israeli Absentees’ Property Law of 1950.
Records discovered in the Israel State Archives show that the land was owned by Palestinian families and leased temporarily to British mandate authorities prior to the establishment of Israel in 1948, Wafa News Agency reported.
The objection was sent with a letter which said that in the event of the US proceeding with the plan, it would be “a full-throated endorsement” of Israel’s illegal confiscation of private Palestinian property.
It also said it would make the US State Department an active participant in violating the rights of its own citizens.
State Department officials recently claimed that no decision on moving forward with the construction plan had yet been made, and that the US was still deciding whether to pursue an alternative site.
Suhad Bishara, legal director at Adalah, has argued that confiscating the land on which the US compound is to be built would violate international law, specifically article 46 of The Hague Regulations on land warfare. The regulations enshrine the need to respect private property rights and expressly prohibit confiscation of private property.
Adalah has said that the Israeli Absentees’ Property Law is one of the most arbitrary, broad, discriminatory, and draconian laws enacted in Israel.
It has also argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem, regardless of where it is or will be located, disregards international consensus on the city’s special status and signals support for Israel’s illegal annexation.