Although over 50 years have passed since the 1967 war that led to the reunification of Jerusalem, the registration of land and property in east Jerusalem has yet to be regulated and still does not occur in an orderly manner.
To date, only around five percent of land plots in the eastern part of the city are registered in Tabu, the Israeli Land Registry, a situation which hinders the advancement of private construction, delays the freeing-up of land for public purposes, and prevents infrastructure projects from getting off the ground.
The lack of organized registration of land ownership means that the land cannot be utilized to its full potential, when it could be used to promote the local economy.
Now, however, the process of registering land in east Jerusalem is getting underway, spearheaded by Jerusalem Affairs & Heritage Minister Rafi Peretz, along with officials from other government offices. The idea is to gradually replace the existing system, which relies on a local “mukhtar” being responsible for keeping the records in his neighborhood that date back many decades. This system is highly susceptible to unscrupulous individuals bribing officials to register plots of land to their liking, leading to violations of housing laws and illegal construction.
Minister Peretz noted that his project will bring east Jerusalem into line with the rest of the country, saying, “The fact that almost all of the land in the eastern part of Jerusalem is not registered properly is something that should have been addressed a long time ago already. The plans that I have developed for registering land plots and properties have now been adopted by the various government ministries concerned, and once they are implemented, they will go a long way to improving the situation for the residents of these areas. A united Jerusalem is not a slogan – it’s a vision, and one that needs to apply to the eastern part of the city just as it applies to the west.”