Both the US Secretary of State and the US Ambassador to Israel are requested to halt construction plans by the descendants of original landowners whose property was seized by Israel in 1950.
Two human rights organizations have urged the US to immediately abandon plans to construct a new embassy and diplomatic compound in Jerusalem on land that was allegedly taken from Palestinian families, some of whom are US citizens.
The request was made in a letter sent on Thursday to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides on behalf of the Palestinian families by Adalah and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
Should the US move forward with this plan, the organizations warned, it would not only support Israel’s illegal seizure of Palestinian-owned land but also actively take part in the confiscation of US citizens’ land.
Following the highly contentious decision by former US President Donald Trump to unilaterally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018, the US State Department and the Israel Land Authority submitted plans for a US diplomatic compound in February 2021.
The project’s final decision will be made after a 60-day public comment period, which began earlier this week.
The two organizations included rental agreements between Palestinian families and British Mandate authorities in the 45-page letter. At the time, these families’ land was temporarily leased for use as Allenby Barracks military base property.
According to the Absentees’ Property Law, which gives the government the authority to seize and imprison Palestinian assets that they were forced to abandon during the Nakba, the land was taken by the Israeli government.
Palestinians refer to the massacres and forcible expulsions they suffered at the hands of Zionist militias in 1948 as the Nakba, or “the catastrophe,” which left an estimated 15,000 native Palestinians dead and roughly 750,000 displaced.
It will be built “on land seized from Palestinians in violation of international law” if the complex is allowed to proceed, Adalah and CCR claimed in the letter.
The family of Rashid Khalidi owns a portion of the land. In an interview with on Friday, Khalidi, the Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, said that the letter should “put the US government in a very embarrassing position.”
American capitalism is built on the principle of private property. Private property is revered, according to him. And in this instance, an allied government has stolen property belonging to people, including US citizens, and the US government is complicit in the theft by erecting buildings on this private property. “.
Some of the land designated for the new complex was also owned by Ali Qleibo’s family. The historic contracts were made public by Adalah in July, but Qleibo, an artist, author, and anthropologist based in Jerusalem, told reporters that he has yet to hear from the US government.
That was really painful, he said, “refusing to acknowledge my rights of ownership. “They haven’t gotten in touch. ”
Qleibo asserted that his family was still living in Jerusalem in 1948. He said, “The war stopped one kilometer from our house.
To this day, Qleibo still passes by the land that the family had rented to the British but which was confiscated by Israeli authorities in 1950. “Every day, we have to deal with it. It’s a wound that never mends,” he said.