The question of Palestinians’ right for urban planning and development in East Jerusalem is one of many challenges Arab Jerusalemites face over the right to the city. While Palestinians search for the reasons for the impaired urban reality of East Jerusalem, some of the answers lie in the planning systems itself and its allowances. This brief paper describes, analyzes, and critiques urban planning policies that constitute a trap and an indictment mechanism impeding the issuance of a building permit and land titles. The planning trap is part of a sophisticated complex matrix of control systems, with hard and soft, visible and invisible components that are practiced by the Israeli authorities in an effort to bring about the geopolitical, demographic policies, and urban changes desired by the state in Jerusalem.

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