Batan al-Hawa – New B’tselem Report on Settler Activities

The Israeli human rights organization B’tselem recently published an important new report on the settlers’ aggressive takeover of the Batan al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan. Within the framework of that report, B’tselem conducted a significant survey, in which it mapped the parcels of land that have been targeted for evictions by the settlers, with the help of the Israeli government, based on claims that these houses were Jewish-owned prior to the 1948 War.

The B’tselem report accurately highlights the fact that Batan al-Hawa has been targeted by government-backed settlers who aim to create a contiguous ring of settlements from Wadi Hilweh/City of David to the south of the Old City, to Ras el Amud to the east (see map). The success of the settler movement in establishing a stronger foothold in Batan al-Hawa will have a significant impact on the potential border in any future political agreement. [Note: The report’s legal analysis includes one technical inaccuracy: the targeted properties in Batan al-Hawa are not managed, as the report states, by the Custodian of Absentee Properties (which has authority over Palestinian “absentee” properties); rather, they are managed by the Israeli Custodian General, based on provisions of Israel’s Law and Administration Procedure Law.

For more on the settlers’ takeover of properties in Batan Al-Hawa, see our previous analysis and report, here and here. For more on the methods used by Israel to take over properties in East Jerusalem, including the method being used in Batan al-Hawa, see our previous brief, here