In response to the US government’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the following points are to be noted:
First: The city of Jerusalem and its environs, including adjacent and neighboring villages, are Islamic waqf areas under official waqfs recorded in the records of the Islamic courts in Jerusalem, and in no case shall such waqfs be revoked, amended or confiscated. These lands were leased to their inhabitants or to those who live on them, while they remained the property of the Islamic waqf which collected lease from them. These conditions remained until the end of the British Mandate in 1948, after which part of Jerusalem’s lands followed the Arab Orthodox Church.
Second: Aside from historical claims, Zionism tried to lay its hands on parts of the city of Jerusalem for more than 100 years; as a result, at the end of the British Mandate in 1948, Zionism could not own more than five percent of the Jerusalem Municipality’s lands, inside or outside the fence, according to the Palestinian Land Department, the British archives of the Land of Jerusalem, as well as the estimates of the International Conciliation Commission and Sami Hadawi, who was the head of the Department of Survey of Jerusalem Lands until the end of the British Mandate, in addition to the “Jerusalem Lands” book and “Jerusalem 1948” book by author Salim Tamari. All of these references agreed that the Jews did not own more than five percent of the land of Jerusalem when it was occupied by Israeli forces in 1948.
Third: The so-called Jewish alleyways in ancient Jerusalem were properties belonging to Arab Jerusalemite families such as Al-Khalidi, Abu Saud, Fatyani, Dajani and Qutina, and these lands were leased to religious Jews for their proximity to the Western Wall (Al-Buraq), and their population in 1948 did not exceed 2,000 including seniors, children and women (see the memoirs of Abdullah Al-Tal and the diaries of Aref Al-Aref).
Fourth: What confirms the above is that the Jews submitted a petition to the Islamic Waqf Department (registered in the register of waqfs) demanding to rent a plot of land to bury their dead, which was approved by the Department of Awqaf, and based on that, the cemetery, also an Islamic waqf land, which is now located between the suburb of Silwan and the suburbs of Jerusalem, was leased to them.
Fifth: The laws issued by Israel to confiscate land and property of Arab Jerusalemites are invalid for several reasons, most importantly:
A. Jerusalem under United Nations resolutions does not belong to Israel and therefore all Israeli laws relating to Jerusalem are null and void and contrary to United Nations’ resolutions.
B. Because the property of the Islamic waqf are not sold or bought according to Islamic law and the ownership of the land is always attributed to the Islamic waqf.
C. Because the seizure of land by force does not give the aggressor a right under international law and in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Sixth: It is not the prerogative of a foreign state to intervene in the affairs of another state to recognize the subordination of land or city to another party that does not own it. This recognition, whether made by the US president or Congress, is fundamentally void according to international law, and because it violates Security Council and UN resolutions. Furthermore, the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of a state whose boundaries are yet to be defined is null and void.
Seventh: When America wanted years ago to build an embassy in Jerusalem on land located in the site of the upper Baqaa, a number of owners of this land – Jerusalemite families who hold US citizenship only – objected to this decision, including the families of Al-Khalidi, Abu Saud, Al-Turjman and Al-Fatyani, and submitted memos with documents attached to the US government and Congress, after which the US government withdrew its decision.
By Attorney Hafez Tahboub