One of the tools Israeli authorities use to limit building and development in East Jerusalem neighborhoods is defining areas as national parks. This measure is taken as part of a three-fold agenda designed to maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, create contiguous blocs of land with no Palestinian residents, and increase Jewish presence in the eastern part of the city. In addition, East Jerusalem is the only urban area in Israel where the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA) has declared several national parks, including ones partially located inside built-up urban areas. In some of these parks, the NPA has even delegated some of its powers to El-Ad, an Israeli NGO whose official, stated objective is to “strengthen the Jewish bond to Jerusalem and its history through tours, courses, taking up residence [...]”, and which promotes, among other things, Jewish settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
The following images are of some of the areas that have been already declared national parks in East Jerusalem as well as of areas for which authorities have begun the declaration process. For more information and an interactive tour of the national parks, click here.
Photos: Keren Manor, Activestills.
Eyes Wide Open Photo Blog by B’Tselem is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. You are free to use the photos in the blog. However, any public use of photos must include copyright credit to the photographer and B’Tselem.
B'Tselem has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity.