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Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15

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Interim Report January to June 2011

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Interim Report

January to June 2011

Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights

Introduction:

This report covers the Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in occupied Jerusalem during the first half of 2011. It also shed lights on JCSER interventions and responses to such breaches, in addition of its challenges to the Israeli discriminatory legal system. It also gives a glimpse to JCSER efforts to expose such abuses on the local, regional and international levels to meet the goal of urging members of the international community for action to pressure the Israeli government to put an end to its atrocities against the Palestinians and to honor the fourth Geneva Convention regarding the protection of civilians.

It is worthy to mention that a sum of 275.000 Palestinians currently live in Jerusalem of whom 66.8% of the families and 74% of the children live under the poverty line. On daily bases, they are subjected to numerous infringes of their basic human rights by the Israeli occupation authorities which implement an old - new strategy of reducing the number of Arab population in the city, while maximizing as possible the number of Jews in it. In conformity with this policy which began implementation since the early days of occupation in 1967, Palestinians have been targeted by the biased Israeli legal system which imposes various pressures on Palestinians to force them to leave their city.

During the reporting period, Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinians houses in Jerusalem and forced 5 Palestinians to demolish their houses by their own. The authorities also demolished 9 economic facilities.

On their part, Israeli settlement organizations continued with their attempts to take over more Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah, Musrarah and the Old City, while Israeli authorities approved plans to built 7800 settlement units in Jewish settlements in Jerusalem and Arab neighborhoods in the city.

The authorities also deported the internal and temporal deportation which targeted 17 Palestinians who were deported from the Old City and its environs, including 8 from al-Aqsa Mosque. Among the 7 deportees from their homes a child who was denied access to his home in Ras al-Amud. The list of deportees included: religious and political figures, in addition to guards of al-Aqsa Mosque. Israeli authorities also banned from travel Head of the Mapping Department of the Arab Studies Societies Khalil Tufakji. In addition, the occupation authority closed several Palestinian organizations and one Mosque in Wadi al-Jouz for the alleged security reasons.

Meanwhile, the authorities continued to target Palestinians of the Old City, Silwan, Ras al-Amoud, Issawiyeh and Shufat Refugee Camp with arrest campaigns.

Abstract:

During the first term of 2011, JCSER was able to provide legal assistance to 237 cases which could be classified in consultancy, court representation and bargaining deals. In other words the indirect beneficiaries from JCSER intervention exceeded 1400 Palestinians who receive the centers legal services free of charge since they cannot afford paying for such services in private law offices. The legal services which were provided by the center could be categorized in representing 20 cases in courts, 155 consultancies and making bargaining deals in 62 cases.

The reporting term observed finalizing the transfer of data base to the new upgraded software. At the same time, the JCSERs staff continued to document the daily Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights and compiling the affidavits from the different cases and posting them on the web site while publishing others in the local media. The centers also, issued six monthly reports about Israeli human rights in Jerusalem in addition to five special reports which highlighted certain topics of concern for the Palestinian population of Jerusalem.

During the first half of the year, staff of JCSER participated in 12 local conferences and workshops which bared the theme of human right violation in occupied Jerusalem. In most of the events, JCSERs delegates presented papers addressing the issue of human rights in the occupied Jerusalem.

As for networking, JCSER which is already a member in eight local and international coalition which are concerned with honoring human rights in occupied, played and active role in planning and implementing the activities of the various coalitions.

1. JCSER Legal Program

The Legal Program was able to provide legal services: representation, consultancies and bargaining deals for a total of 237 cases of impoverished and vulnerable Palestinians families in occupied Jerusalem. All the services were provided free of charge, since the defendants couldn't afford the court fees.

The services which were provided by the program could be categorized as follows:

Legal services which were provided by JCSER in the first half of 2011:

For the type of the provided legal services, they could be classified as follows:

Type of the legal service provided by JCSER:

1-1 Legal Representation

As mentioned before, JCSER's legal program provided court representation to 20 cases to the impoverished Palestinians of Jerusalem. The cases could be illustrated as follows:

Types of cases represented by JCSER in Israeli courts:

1-2 Legal Consultancies

The center's lawyers provided legal consultancies in 155 cases of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. Types of the cases were as follows:

Types of legal consultancies provided by JCSER:

1-3 Legal Bargaining deals

JCSER was able to cut bargaining deals in 62 cases which can be grouped as follows:

Types of bargaining deals which were made by JCSER:

1-3 Description of achievements:

As was mentioned earlier, JCSER dealt through its legal program with 237 cases of impoverished Palestinians. The provided legal services helped in alleviating the sufferings and hardships of around 1400 individuals. Although, in some cases such as house demolitions, the center did not succeed in obliging the Israeli authorities to completely cancel the orders of demolition, yet it was able at least to temporally freeze implementation of the demolition and buy more time for the concerned people to follow up with the proceeding to obtaining construction licenses.

However, in other cases of Arnona tax, the center was also able to reach bargaining settlements with Jerusalem Municipality, by which the properties of Palestinians who are in debt for the municipality where released from the threat of being seized. Also, the center's legal program was able to lift the freeze on the bank accounts of the debtors, following the deals which were made with the municipality by which the debtors will pay amount of debts in installments in accordance with their financial capabilities.

1-4 Special cases:


1-4-1 Razan Nasser Eldin

Despite the fact that she lives with her family in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Jouz, Israeli authorities cut the national insurance benefits which used to be paid for her four kids. Israeli National Insurance Institute, INII, stopped transferring the allowances to her accounts since June 2010 on allegation that she had changed the center of her life. When she reported her case to JCSER, the center approached the Israeli institute with an application demanding it to rescind its decision since the family continues to live in Jerusalem and has never changed its center of life. INII responded by sending some of its staff members to the family house to make sure of JCSER claims. Consequently, INII approved the JCSER application on May 5, 2011 and decided to resume the disbursements of allowances.

1-4-2 Asa'd Hammouri

On August 26, 2007 Israel's Jerusalem Municipality filed a charge sheet against the resident of Beit Haninah As'ad Hammouri on allegation that he was occupying an illegal building according to Planning and Construction Law. However, Hammouri through JCSER denied the Israeli allegations and insisted that he has not breached the law. Jerusalem Municipality's court convened its first session on December 28, 2010, during which its representative requested more time to review the issue.

On April 27, 2011, the Municipality presented an application to the court calling for cancelling the charges against Hammouri. The following day, the court cancelled the charges and closed the file.

1-4-3 Younis Sider

The resident of Silwan, Younis Sider was issued by Jerusalem Municipality's court an ultimatum that ends on February 28, 2011 to demolish his house on allegation that it was built without a license. However, JCSER requested an extension of the period of time to enable the owner to legalize his house, but the municipality rejected the demand. However, the court approved an extension that expires on February 19, 2012 to enable the Palestinian citizen to finalize the measures needed to obtain a construction license for his house.

1-4-4 Journalist Syndicate

Palestinian Arab Journalist Syndicate approached JCSER on January 2011 for help to activate its license in order to restore operation in Jerusalem. After the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994, Arab Journalist Syndicate moved its offices to Ramallah and halted its activities in Jerusalem. On January 20, 2008, JCSER applied to the Israeli Registrar of Associations to activate the license of operation in Jerusalem. On April 10, JCSER received a letter of approval from the Israelis Registrar of Associations. Reviving the syndicate license is now in its final stages.

1-4-5 Nayef Asa'd

Nayef Asa'ad, a resident of Shu'fat approached JCSER on December 29, 2010 for legal help to settle his debts in Arnona tax due to Jerusalem municipality. The tax was imposed on his 136 sq meters store which locates in Shu'fat. The accumulated debts amounted to NIS 372,000 (approximately $109734.51) in five files opened against him. On December 2, 2010, the center applied for combining all the cases in one file. However, the municipality's Service Procedure requested As'ad to send copies of his application to all concerned parties in the municipality before December 21, 2010. The applications were sent to all concerned parties according to the municipality request on December 12, 2010, and on January 18, 2011 JCSER sent a letter to the municipality court calling it to issue its verdict on the issue. The center sent another reminding letter on the issue on February 20, 2011. Consequently, the court decided on May 26, 2011 to combine all the files and accepted the JCSER request to enable As'ad to pay his debts in monthly installments of NIS 300 while halting all measures of seizing his properties and freezing his bank account.

1-4-6 Ma'moun Farrah

Properties of the Palestinian resident of Beit Haninah Ma'moun Farrah have been seized on allegations that he was in debt for the tax department of Jerusalem municipality. Court of the municipality issued its decision to seize his properties because he failed to pay for his debt which amounted to NIS 27,000. However, he denied that he received any notification about the issue.

On January 25, 2011 while he was driving his kids to school, Israeli police stopped him at Nevi Yacob Intersection, seized his car and later froze his bank amount. On its part, JCSER provided the court with all the documents proving that Farrah was not in debt for the municipality and used to pay the taxes through his bank. The center also appealed against the seizure procedures and requested the court to rescind its decision. Finally, the municipality accepted JCSER request and released the car and the file was later closed.

2- Data base:

As part of its project to upgrade and develop its compiled data base, by using an advanced soft ware, members of JCSER staff were able to transfer almost all of its data to the new computerized system. The current system of data base provides accurate information on various issues of Israeli violations to Palestinian human rights in Jerusalem. It was described by some of JCSER researcher as more effective and efficient in providing the needed information.

The new system of data base helps also in tracking the trends of Israeli violations, a fact that equips the researchers with all what they need to carry on with their jobs, or even preparing periodic indexes of human rights violations.

JCSER also posted on its website some of the affidavits which were collected by its field workers, while publishing some others in the local media with the main purpose of raising awareness of the Palestinian community to recent trends and developments of the violations of Palestinian human rights.

Moreover, JCSER continues to publish its periodic reports, particularly the monthly reports about the situation of human rights in East Jerusalem. It also published several special reports which shed lights on certain topics.

3- Research:

During the reporting term, JCSER conducted several researches to highlight the major policies of Israeli occupation violations which target Palestinians with displacement from their homes in Jerusalem, as part of the Israeli government goal to minimize the number of Palestinians in the city of Jerusalem, which the occupation try to monopolize as its united and eternal capital. Finding of JCSER researches had been published in the following special reports:

- A special report about Israeli settlements activities in Bir Ayyoub in Silwan.

- A special report about settlement construction in Sheikh Jarrah and around the Old City.

- A special report about the light trail project in occupied Jerusalem.

- A special report about the suffering of Mazen Qiresh of al-Sa'diyah neighborhood in Jerusalem after the Jewish settlers occupied part of his house.

- A special report about killing the Palestinian youth Milad Ayyash in Silwan.

All the reports received good coverage in local media particularly in al-Quds Newspaper, the biggest circulated paper in the Palestinian territories, in addition to several websites.

4- Awareness raising:

JCSER maintains its outstanding policy of increasing the awareness on the local, regional and international levels through its various activities, publications, statements and other media outlets, in addition to the media interviews which the director is accustomed to conduct to address the situation of human rights in occupied Jerusalem.

The center also issued a report about the applied security measures at Qalandiya Crossing. The published information in the report was obtained for the Israeli military in response to questions posed by JCSER.

Meanwhile, the center published an updated list of deported Palestinians from their homes in the Old City and its surroundings. The list consisted of 17 persons, including 8 from al-Aqsa Mosque and 7 other who were deported from their homes, including a child who was deported from his Ras al-Amud home. Among the deportees, religious and political figures in addition to guards of al-Aqsa Mosque.

4-1 Conferences and local workshops:

As part of JCSER policy to play an active role in the local activities and workshops that are related to its work, members of JCSER's staff participated in the following local conferences and workshops:

- A conference about residency rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem which was organized by Land Research Center and convened in Ramallah on March 29-30, 2011.

- A conference about the expected outcome of the UN recognition of the Palestinian state in the coming September which was organized by the Civic Coalition to Defend Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem on January 29.

- A workshop marking the 2nd anniversary of establishing the protesting tent against house demolition in Silwan. The activity was organized by the Committee to Defend Silwan Lands.

- A meeting to launch the UN East Jerusalem Report which was organized by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on March 23, 2011.

- A conference organized by the International Campaign against Revoking the Residency Rights for Jerusalemites which was convened on May 25 in Jerusalem.

- The launching conference of the Israeli Peace Initiative which was organized by Konrad-Adenauer-Stifftung in cooperation with the Israeli Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) on May 11 in Jerusalem.

- The Launching Ceremony of the EU Mapping Study of Civil Society in the oPt on May 4 in Ramallah.

- A press conference convened in al-Ambassador Hotel on April 6 about the intention to impose the Israeli curriculum on the Palestinian schools in Jerusalem.

- A press conference organized by the Palestine Red Crescent Society about the violation of Palestinian children rights on April 6 in Jerusalem.

- Attending a lecture delivered by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Carl Bildt about "Economic Opportunities and Political Challenges in the Middle East and North Africa," which was hosted by al-Quds University on March 1.

- A sit-in calling for ending the internal Palestinian divide which was organized by PNGO at al-Manara Square in Ramallah on February 17.

- A workshop about applying Absentee Law in East Jerusalem. The event was organized by the Civic Coalition for defending the Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem on March 26.

In most of the events, JCSER delegates presented informative and legal papers which tackled the situation of human rights in the Holy City and the recommended response by the various concerned parties with the respect of human rights in this spot of the world.

4-2 local social activities:

In consent with JCSER policy to participate in various local social activities in an attempt to consolidate it relationship with the Palestinian popularities in occupied Jerusalem, JCSER participated in the following events:

- Fund raising dinner organized by the Society of al-Makassed Hospital's Friends on May 26.

- The honoring event to Dr. Ikrima Sabri, head of the Islamic Supreme Committee in Jerusalem.

- An event to honor Palestinian female journalists on May 10. The event was organized by the Qattari Committee to Defend Jerusalem.

5- Networking:

JCSER beliefs in and support the coordinated and consolidated collective response to Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights. JCSER is already in the following coalitions:

- The Jerusalem Coalition against House Demolition.

- The Coalition for Defending Jerusalem.

- The Coalition for Ending ID Card Confiscation from Palestinian Jerusalemites

- The International Campaign against Revocation of Palestinian Residency Rights in Jerusalem.

- The Coalition for Education in Jerusalem.

- The Coalition

- Land Defense Committees

- The National Committee to Resist Deportation

The center was involved in all of the activities which were organized by the various coalitions in their strife to defend Palestinian human rights in occupied Jerusalem.

6- Policy formulation:

As part of its efforts to affect the decision makers with regards to human rights issue, members of the centers staff held at least six meeting with various Palestinian figures, including members of the PLO Executive Committee and Jerusalem Governor. The main goal of the such meetings was to discuss possibilities of helping Palestinian victims of the Israeli policies through providing them with financial support from the Palestinian National Authority. However, due to the financial hardships of the Palestinian authority, it was difficult for example, to provide support for the Palestinians who were fined for building their homes without licenses.

7- Media and information:

7-1 Press releases:

The center issued several press releases which tackled various issues of concern for the Palestinian population in Jerusalem. The issued press releases were as follows:-

- A press release calling for adopting a national strategy to confront Israeli attempts to Juadize the Palestinian educational sector in occupied Jerusalem.

- A press release about the Israeli act of changing names of Arab neighborhoods with Jewish names.

- A press release to explain the real Israeli intentions behind implementing an infra structure project in the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi al-Jouz with a cost of NIS 3000,000.

- A press release about the mounting Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights.

- A press release about renovation of the Old City Wall by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality.

All the press releases received good coverage from the local and some of the international. The media coverage provided the floor for JCSER position to reach the maximum number of audiences. In other words, the number of beneficiaries from JCSER activities was double to several times.


Interviews conducted by JCSER's director during the 1st half of 2011


Director of the center also convened the following meetings:

- A meeting with the Representative of Ireland to the Palestinian Authority, James Carroll and discussed with him Israeli violations in Jerusalem.

- Swedish delegation about Israeli policies in Jerusalem.

- A delegation of the French Communist Party and other socialist parties.

- Al-Haq field worker Omran al-Natsheh about Shepherded Hotel and the Israeli Absentee Law

- Director of Woman Center for Counseling Khawlah Aqel about Israeli violations in Jerusalem.

- A group of students from Dar al-Fata School about the violations in Jerusalem.

- Birzeit University student Nirmeen Siyam who was preparing her MA dissertation about the social environment of the Palestinian population.

- Researcher Jilyan Kestler about revoking the residency rights of Palestinians.

- Student Hadeel Hidmi of al-Quds University about Arnona tax.

- The university student Zahiya Abu Sbaih about the light trains in Jerusalem.

- Researcher Alice Bota about political development and effect of Arab spring on the issue of Jerusalem.

- Researcher Paolo Napolitano about the economic situation in Jerusalem.

8- Conclusions:

Since JCSER is one of the rare human rights organizations based and operating in occupied Jerusalem, it should continue to provide its various activities particularly the legal program which should maintain the services to the vulnerable Palestinian population. The fact gains more momentum since the majority of the Arab population in the city lives under the poverty line and cannot afford paying for the costly legal services of the private law offices.

In light of the escalating Israeli violation and discriminatory polices that are directed towards Palestinians, JCSER must remain loyal to its mission of protecting human rights in Jerusalem and expose all of the Israeli policies which contradict international humanitarian law and fail to deal with Palestinians as protected civilians.