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Temporary Injunction Issued against Tender for Building Plots in Lifta Village

posted Mar 9, 2011, 7:16 PM by Lifta Society   [ updated Apr 10, 2011, 6:19 PM ]

7 March 2011 

Press Release 

Temporary Injunction Issued against Tender for Building Plots in Lifta Village 

Coalition to Save Lifta 

Administrative Petition: 8661-03-11 

Following a petition submitted yesterday (6 March), Judge Yigal Marzel issued a temporary injunction
today ordering the Israel Land Administration to freeze publication of the results of a tender to lease plots
for building in the village of Lifta. The petition was submitted by Attorney Sami Arshid on behalf of
Jerusalem activists, including descendents of Lifta, the Bnei Lifta Association, Rabbis for Human Rights
and the Jafra Association.  

In their petition against the Israel Land Administration, the petitioners requested court intervention to
prevent the transfer of assets and property in Lifta to private hands for the establishment of an exclusive
real estate project and to halt destruction of the village, which represents a final testimony to the Arab
villages and culture of scenery that were widespread in Israel throughout history until the early 20
the 20th century. 

According to the petitioners, “in the given situation and according to which the village of Lifta is an
abandoned village and its original inhabitants live as refugees at a distance of only a few hundred metres
from their village, it would have been befitting to abstain from all construction in the area and certainly to
prevent building that would result in destruction of the village and the complete dispossession of the rights
of the original inhabitants of the place”. The petitioners further write that the “marketing of plots for
building in the village of Lifta and furthermore the construction of new buildings on the village lands and in
place of the existing village could thwart the ability to preserve the existing village and foil any possibility
of reconstructing the historic structure of the village, and everything that is derived from this.” 

 The petitioners requested that the court order an annulment of the tender to sell plots in Lifta and order
the Israel Land Administration to desist from any action that would damage the physical and cultural
heritage of the place, until an inclusive planning process is completed that includes the area of Lifta, and
which will include planning for preservation of the site in accordance with professional standards and with
public participation. 

A professional opinion of five senior architects and preservation and planning professionals in Israel was
attached to the petition, concerning serious preservation defects in the tender. In the opinion it was
determined that the ILA tender does not meet the preservation criteria accepted in Israel and throughout
the world, and that full data does not exist that would permit the marketing of the plots and issuance of
building permits. Authors of the opinion determine that the tender process must be frozen until completion
of the detailed documentation of Lifta, preparation of a building and development plan and conclusion of a
development agreement between the ILA and the Jerusalem Municipality. 

For additional details: 

Petitioners:
Dapha Golan: 054 8820698
Yaacoub Odeh (from Lifta): 052 287 2840 
Attorney Sami Arshid: 02 6231244
Professional opinion: Architect Shmuel Groag: 050 5922428
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