2008 | Leila Hilal - Reparation for Lost Palestinian Property inside Israel, a review of international developments, Jerusalem Quarterly, 33, 2008
Nearly 60 years have passed since Palestinians lost access to their properties in West Jerusalem and other parts of historic Palestine now under Israeli sovereignty. Despite the United Nations determination in 1948 that the “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date”, the nascent State of Israel enacted laws to bar their return and expropriate their property. To date, Palestinians have not been allowed to repatriate or repossess their properties, nor have they received compensation for their losses. The injustice of the unresolved dispossession is exemplified by the case of former Palestinian residents of West Jerusalem, many of whom live in East Jerusalem within a few kilometres of ancestral homes that remain intact but occupied, often by recent Jewish immigrants.
This essay reviews the international principles and precedents concerning Israel’s obligations to make reparation for property taken – and the corresponding right of Palestinians to claim remedies for their losses.