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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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The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights report warns of a Catastrophic Humanitarian Circumstances in the Holy City.

The Holy City has witnessed more than four years of Intifada since the outbreak of the popular Alaqsa Intifada. Today, Jerusalem is isolated from its Palestinian surrounding that is caused by closures, isolation (The Apartheid Wall) and checkpoints, thus turning the historical city into a large Ghetto surrounded by Jewish settlements from all directions.

In entering the Intifadas fifth year, the Israeli police and army have committed serious violations against Palestinian Jerusalemites social and economic rights, including land confiscation, the continuation of building settlements, rescinding Jerusalemites right of residency, denying their social and economic rights and preventing Jerusalemites access to holy sites for warship. At the same time, Israel has intensified its human rights violations campaigns in the holy city initiating possible violent confrontations similar to the one that was witnessed in Al-Haram Al-Sharief (Al-Aqsa mosque) on September 28, 2000.

This report has gathered the Intifadahs results in East Jerusalem that had most affect on Palestinian Jerusalemites lives and on the future on the Holy City, including:

 

I. Settlements and Land Confiscation:

 

The sharp rise in the land confiscation in East Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities is a clear indicator for the large increase in the building of new settlements and the expansion of existing settlements. The most recent was the announcement of confiscating approximately 2000 donums from Alwalajeh villages land, south of Occupied Jerusalem. To erect 5000 settlement unit as part of Israels quest to encircle the Holy City with settlements. Other examples are the construction of a 132-unit settlement called Maali Hazimtim in Ras Alamood neighborhood and another 200-unit settlement called Nov Zahav in the Jabal Almukabir neighborhood. In addition, the planning of building a new settlement on the city of Abu Diess land.

 

A former Israeli tourism minister announced that there would be 17 settlements encircling the Old City; adding to that another 400-unit settlement inside the walls of the Old City announced the settlement encirclement plan around the Old City. At the same time, the Israelis intensified their campaign by confiscating another 70 properties in the Old City. JCSER monitored another type settlement activity in the four year of Intifadah represented by the building a network of strategic roads, bridges and tunnels in and around Jerusalem including:

  1. A tunnel through the Mount of Olives where 52 donums of land where confiscated.
  2. Road number 1 where 370 donums of land where confiscated.
  3. Road number 4 where 2200 donums of land where confiscated.
  4. Road to encircle Jerusalem where 1070 donums where confiscated.
  5. The Apartheid Wall where it will swallow 72 square kilometers of land.

East Jerusalems Demography:

JCSER has observed a strong connection between Israeli settlement activity in and around Jerusalem and the demographic make up of Jerusalem. Where Israeli decision makers warned Israeli Jews that the increase in Palestinians in Jerusalem is due to Palestinian natural population increase and it must be combated. Palestinians currently make up 33% of total East and West Jerusalems population and it is considered as a high rate from Jewish perspective.

The Israeli decision to create settlement encirclement around the Old City, the construction of the Apartheid wall around Jerusalem and the expansion of 16 settlements that exist around Jerusalem is a part of an Israeli plan to confront the increasing Palestinian demography. As demographic indicators shows Palestinian population count stand at approximately 250,000 at the same time Jewish settlers count at approximately 180,000 in East Jerusalem. A recent study by Sergio Visseglass, a demography expert in Hebrew University, warns against Palestinian majority in East Jerusalem and calls on Israeli authorities to reduce Palestinian population count to 30,000 in East Jerusalem in the up coming years to ensure a Jewish majority in East Jerusalem by the year 2020.

House Demolition in East Jerusalem:

Israels escalation regarding its house demolition policy has recorded a significant increase in addition to increased building regulations restrictions. According to the Centers records the Israeli authorities demolished 538 homes in the past four years and they are distributed as follows:

YEAR

Number of Homes Demolished
200082
2001121
2002147
2003123
200465

According to Israeli sources that there is nearly 6000 built without permits and other Israeli sources claim that the number could be as high as 3 times the declared number.

The highlights of procedures against what Israel calls illegal building in Occupied East Jerusalem are fines in the hundreds of thousands of Shekels, jail sentences, home demolition and stringent instructions in landownership verification. In addition to confiscating contractors, engineers and owners equipment and valuables; the Israeli authorities issues unjustifiable and large fines to them and in some cases jail sentences.

At the same time the West Jerusalem Municipality has carried out an advertising campaign warning Palestinians not buy homes with out building permits or they will be legally liable for breaking the law and will be exposed to a demolition order. In addition, the Municipality imposed an ever increasingly stringent restrictions on building regulations for Palestinians at the same time easing off building regulations for Jewish settlements that is experiencing fast expansion around the clock in East Jerusalem.

This includes settlements outside East Jerusalems original city limits including Maali Adomim to the east, Givat Zeev to the west, Adam and Maali Makhmass to the north and Ghosh Ezion to the south. This settlement encirclement constitutes 10% of West Banks total land.

 

Freedom of Religion and Access to Holy Sites:After four years have past since the beginning of the Intifada, Israel intensifies its violations of freedom of religion and access to Muslim and Christian holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. The provocative visit by Ariel Sharon to Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) in September of 2000 that started the second Intifadah, new restrictions were imposed on Palestinians (including Jerusalemites and Israeli Arabs) that prevented access of holy sites to them to practice their worship. The massive presence of Israeli police and army in and around the Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Al-Aqsa Mosque) has escalated Israels incitement campaign by what they call the restoration work around in and around the holy site. This subversive work is conducted under the pretext of restorations and repairs and digging for Jewish artifacts, where it has put some of holy sites buildings in danger of collapsing. The latest circulating information concerns the possible collapse of the Musalah Al-Marwani due to Israeli tunnel work under the structure. At the same time, Israeli authorities have interrogated Muslim and Christian religious clerks on countless occasions and imposed travel restrictions on some of them. Where they interrogated Jerusalems Mufti, Ikrima Sabri, several times accusing him of incitement against Israel during Friday prayers speeches and for participating in international human rights conferences. They also interrogated on several occasions and imposed travel restrictions on Dr. Hanna Atalah, official speaker of the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities also prevented religious clergymen from the West Bank to enter East Jerusalem.

Social and Economic Rights Violations:

Israeli authorities continued its violations against Palestinian Jerusalemites social and economic rights, during the reporting period JCSER received more than 2075 complaints from Jerusalemites whom social and economic rights were violated including the right to shelter, right of residency, family reunification matters and right of citizenship to children with one parent as a citizenship holder. Palestinian Jerusalemites are affected in the following ways:

  1. Right to shelter: Israeli authorities imposing discriminatory restrictions on obtaining building permits in East Jerusalem.
  2. Right of residency: the Israeli Ministry of Interior annulled 33 Jerusalem ID cards during the first six months of 2004 alone.
  3. Family reunification: two years after the start of the Intifada, an Israeli government decision resulted in the freezing of more than 5,000 family reunification applications and the applicants right to be reunited with their families.
  4. Citizenship: Israeli government decision resulted in waving the right of citizenship to children with only one parent as a citizenship holder.
  5. Child registration: Israeli government decision denying the registration of children with one parent as an Israeli ID holder would also deny them right to healthcare and other social and economic rights.

In the past four years JCSER received more than 500 complaints included in the following social and economic rights fields:1. Healthcare 2. Old age pension3. Income supplement4. Family allowanceJCSER expects the rate of poverty to increase in the up coming years due to the economic consequences of the Apartheid Wall in Occupied Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of Jerusalemites will end up residing outside the Apartheid Wall and consequently losing their residency, social and economic rights. Israeli authorities did not forward guarantees protecting their rights to those who are ended up on the other side of the Wall.

Unemployment and Poverty:

During the Intifada Israeli authorities has taken measures that resulted in increasing the level of poverty among nearly quarter of a million Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Israeli institutions and businesses have terminated the employment of thousands of Palestinian workers under the Security pretext, causing an increase in the unemployment level.

Consequently, the unemployed Palestinian workers had to file for benefits at the National Insurance Institute. The Palestinian population experienced a sharp rise in the unemployment rate among Palestinian Jerusalemites during the past four years; according to the Israeli Ministry of Prosperity estimate indicate that the unemployment rate is more than 60% and according to West Jerusalem Municipality estimate indicating the unemployment rate at 47% among the Palestinian population in East Jerusalem.

 

The Closure of Palestinian Jerusalemite Institutions:

The four years of Intifada have recorded the closure of 29 Palestinian Institutions in Occupied Jerusalem and the most renowned of them is the Orient House. The Israeli authorities falsely claimed that they shut down these institutions because they were funded and directed by the PNA.

JCSER warns of the consequences of the suffocating siege being imposed on quarter of a million Palestinians, land confiscation and illegal building of settlements in Occupied Jerusalem. These indicators clearly illustrate the future catastrophic toll on the existence of Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem.