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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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Today: Aug 22, 2017

Annual Narrative Report (2006)

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Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights

 

(JCSER)

 

 

JCSER Annual Narrative Report 2006January 01 - December 31, 2006


Introduction:

Today, more than ever the city of Jerusalem has become isolated from its Palestinian surroundings, as a result of Israel's application of restrictive and harsh measures and polices in the city. These include the imposition of total closure on the city, and the complete isolation of Jerusalem from its surroundings. These measures have been mounted especially with Israel's construction of the Separation Wall (Apartheid Wall) around Jerusalem and the surrounding neighborhoods, which resulted in confiscating large areas of the land and turning it into a large Ghetto surrounded by Jewish settlements from all sides.

With the Intifada entering its sixth year, Israeli police and army have committed serious violations against Palestinian Jerusalemites' social and economic rights. These include land confiscation, ongoing settlement activities - construction & expansion of Jewish settlement, house demolitions, denying Jerusalemites' right to residency and housing, denying their social and economic rights, restricting residents' freedom of movement, and severing their access to the holy places, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque at a time the intensity of Israel's campaigns have been intensified against the holy site.

This report refers to the aspects that have the greatest impact on the life of Palestinian Jerusalemites and on the reality and future of the city of Jerusalem. These can be divided into the following arenas:

1) Settlement Activities & Land Confiscation:

 

 

The report reflects an alarming increase in the pace of the confiscation of Palestinian Jerusalemites' land for the purpose of building new Jewish settlements and expanding existing ones. One prominent example was the confiscation of 2,000 dunums of Al-Walajeh village, southern Occupied Jerusalem to build 5,000 new settlement units. Another example was the commencement for the construction of a string of small Jewish settlements around the Old City of Jerusalem. Settlements include Maale Hazitim in Ras Al-Amud neighborhood where 132 settlement units were built, and 'Nov Zahav' in Jabal Al-Mukabber neighborhood to build 200 settlement units. The report also reveals plans for the construction of another settlement, known as 'Kadamat Tsiyon' in Abu Dis, overlooking Ras Al-Amud and Jabal Al-Mukabber neighborhoods, with the aim of creating a demographic contiguity in the area, starting from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, passing through Mt. of Olives - nucleus settlement, known as 'Beit Oron' and 'Ma'ale Hazitim', ending up with 'Nov Zahav'.

 

This plan was announced two years ago by former Israeli Ministry of Tourism Beni Alon. The plan included the construction of 17 nucleus settlements around the Old City of Jerusalem, in addition to the construction of another settlement neighborhood inside the walls of the Old City in the area known as 'Burj Al-Laqlaq'.

 

It includes the construction of 4,000 settlement units. It is the second Jewish neighborhood built inside the walls of the Old City after the neighborhood, which was built on the ruins of As-Sharafat neighborhood in the wake of the collapse of Jerusalem in 1967.

Israel's escalation in its policies of land confiscation and settlement activities coincides with its intensification of taking over Jerusalemites' properties in the Old City of Jerusalem. The last of which was the seizure of a new part of Az-Zarab's property in Al-Wad Street in the Old City. With this, the number of properties seized by Jewish settlers has risen to 70 throughout the Old City.

 

Throughout the Intifada, JCSER has documented a different type of settlement activity, including the setting up of a network of strategic roads, tunnels and bridges east of Occupied Jerusalem.

 

 

A large portion of the network was completed, and the work on the remaining part is underway.

 

 

The most important include the tunnel road, under Mt. of Olives, which confiscated 52 dunums of Wadi Al-Joz neighborhood, street no. (1), which swallowed up 370 dunums of the land, street no. (4), which confiscated 2,200 dunums of Old Beit Hanina, and the eastern ring road, which confiscated 1,070 dunums of a number of villages around Jerusalem.

 

Part of the road was completed and the work on the remaining part is underway.

 

The report notes that the Apartheid Wall, which Israeli authorities built parts around Jerusalem, consumed until now 35 km2 out of 72 km2 of citizens' land, which will be consumed once fully completed.

 

2) Demography of Jerusalem:

In documenting the settlement activity in the city of Jerusalem and its surroundings, JCSER observed a strong connection between the settlement activity and the demographic issue, which has become a grave concern among Israeli officials and decision-makers.

 

 

Many of them warned of the demographic implications on the Jewish presence in Jerusalem in light of the unprecedented, noticeable increase in the number of Jerusalemites over the past four years, constituting more than 33% of the total population. The percentage is considered high according to Israelis.

 

In this context, the report notes that Israel's decision to build a string of Jewish settlements around the Old City of Jerusalem, to build the Apartheid Wall, and to distribute the existing Jewish settlements (16) built throughout Jerusalem, come within the Israeli plan to confront the ever-increasing Palestinian demography.

 

At the time the official demographic data shows that the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites is currently more than 250,000, the number of Jewish settlers in Occupied East Jerusalem is approximately 200,000, requiring a minor increase in the number of Jewish settlers.

 

This goal can be achieved with the construction of Jewish settlements, while some 180,000 Jerusalemites will be taken out from the demographic confrontation with Israel's construction of the Apartheid Wall.

 

Other Israeli sources spoke of tens of thousands of Jerusalemites, not exceeding 30,000, who will keep their permanent residency status, in order to ensure a Jewish majority that prevents a demographic situation by the year 2020, in which the percentage of Jerusalemites stands at 60%.

3) House Demolition:

 

The report deals with another human rights violation against Palestinian Jerusalemites related to house demolition. Over the past six years, the number of Palestinian houses demolished by Israeli occupation authorities has dramatically increased, combined with intensification in building procedures, imposition of strict and harsh measures on Palestinian Jerusalemites, and application of restrictive polices and actions against 'illegal construction'. According to JSCER's data, more than 650 Palestinian houses were demolished between the beginning of the Intifada through the end of December 2006.

 

 

According to Israeli sources, more than 6,000 Palestinian houses were built without building permits. Other Israeli sources claim that the number is three times. The most important development in regard to fighting Palestinian 'illegal construction' in Occupied Jerusalem is doubling penalties imposed on Palestinian Jerusalemites described as 'building laws violators'. Penalties include the outright demolition of houses, the imposition of high fines in the amounts of tens or hundreds of thousands of shekels, actual imprisonment, and expediting the demolition of houses against which demolition orders have been issued. Another recent development is the issuing of new instructions forcing Palestinian Jerusalemites to prove the ownership of the land on which the houses are built by presenting the (Tabo) - the official Israeli land registration document - and forcing them to obtain the approval of the neighbors, including the 'Mukhtar' of the village or the neighborhood.

These measures have taken another form exemplified in pursuing contractors, engineers, and house-owners in the construction workshops by confiscating trucks loaded with cement, confiscating construction equipment, and imposing high fines on house-owners and putting them in jail.

The Jerusalem West Municipality used the mass media to publish the warnings given to Palestinian Jerusalemites, publishing photographs of illegal/ unlicensed buildings threatened with demolition, calling on citizens to refrain from buying apartments in these buildings.

 

The Jerusalem Municipality has kept the strict measures and policies imposed on building permits given to Palestinian Jerusalemites, in return for huge facilities granted to Jewish settlement neighborhoods in Occupied Jerusalem where construction is taking place around the clock.

 

 

The settlement construction also includes Jewish settlements located outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, especially in the ring settlements around the city, such as Ma'ale Adumim eastward, and Giv'at Ze'ev westward, the settlement compound northward in Adam and Ma'ale Mikhmas, and the large settlement compound, known as 'Gosh 'Atsiyon' southward. The ring settlement, which includes Jerusalem, is the boundaries of Greater Jerusalem - constituting 10% of the West Bank area.

 

4) Freedom of Worship:Since the eruption of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, Israeli occupation authorities have continued its human rights violations in the area of freedom of worship and religious practice. Palestinian Christians and Moslems from the West Bank & Gaza Strip are prevented from entering the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The report notes that after Ariel Sharon's disastrous visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 28 September 2000, which sparked the uprising, further restrictions have been imposed on the entry of Moslem worshippers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Not only Palestinians from the West Bank & Gaza Strip were prevented from entering Jerusalem to perform their prayers and religious rites at the Mosque, but also Palestinian Jerusalemites and Palestinians inside the Green Line [pre-1967 Israel] by determining the age of worshippers allowed to enter the Haram As-Sharif by over 40 years at times, or over 45 at other times.

 

The report noted that two years after the eruption of the Intifada, Israeli occupation authorities allowed Jewish extremists to enter the premises of the Haram As-Sharif within the foreign tourist program. In accordance with a decision taken by former Israeli Internal Security Tsahi Hanghabi, Jewish extremists have been allowed to enter the premises of the Mosque. The decision was taken against the will of the Islamic Waqf, which, at the time, believed that the prevailing security circumstances do not allow for the resumption of visits by Non-Moslems, not to mention that the visits provoke the feelings of Moslem worshippers.

 

The Israeli police not only allowed Jewish extremists to visit the Mosque, but also adopted procedures against a number of Waqf employees and guards, preventing them from entering the premises for a period of six months, and was extended for most of them.

 

On the fourth year of the Intifada, JCSER documented an increase in Israel's intervention in regard to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, through intensifying police presence in its premises, and escalating the official and non-official instigation campaign against the renovation of the walls of the Mosque and the Al-Musalla Al-Marwani. Israeli police claimed that the renovation poses a danger (threat) to what it claims as Jewish archeology at times, and at other times they speak about possible collapses in some mosques, as recently happened in the Al-Musalla Al-Marwani, which was viewed as a new and dangerous stage that might change the current situation. Israeli control has been intensified by interrogating Christian and Moslem clergymen, restricting the movement of some clergymen, as happened with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Holy Land Sheikh 'Akurma Sabri, and Chief Justice Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi. The latter with other clergymen from the West Bank were prohibited from entering Jerusalem without Israeli-issued entry permits.

 

Sheikh 'Akurma Sabri was interrogated more than once, with the accusation of instigation in Friday's sermons at times, and at other times his participation in overseas international conferences against the Jewish state. Another example was Archimandrite Dr. Attallah Hanna, the official spokesperson of the Greek Orthodox Church in East Jerusalem. Israeli occupation authorities imposed restrictions on his movement by holding his passport.

 

5) Violation of Palestinian Jerusalemites' Social & Economic Rights:

 

Israel has continued its violations of Palestinian Jerusalemites' social & economic rights. According to JCSER's data, the Center received between the beginning of the Intifada in 2000 through the end of December 2006 a total of 3,200 complaints from Palestinian Jerusalemites whose economic and social rights have been violated, including the right to residency, housing & health, as a result of Israel's application of its policy of ID card confiscation. During 2003, a total of 273 Jerusalem ID cards were confiscated by the Israeli Interior Ministry, compared with 32 ID cards confiscated during the first half of 2004. The number of ID cards confiscated during 2005 & 2006 exceeds 220 respectively.

 

Israeli human rights violations include other aspects affecting the life of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemite families, especially in the area of family reunification. Two after the outbreak of the Intifada, the Interior Minister issued a decision in March 2002 to 'freeze' action on all Palestinian Jerusalemites' family reunification applications. The move was approved by the Israeli government in May 2002. A total of 5,000 family reunification applications submitted by Palestinian Jerusalemites to the Interior Ministry were frozen, as a result of the 'freeze' decision. In addition, the Israeli government has approved the 'Nationality Law' that prohibits granting Jerusalemite children, whose one of the parents is from the West Bank, the Israeli nationality. Local, international and Israeli legal references described the law as racist.

 

6) Child Registration:

Jerusalemite children have also been affected by the inhumane, discriminatory measures adopted by the Israeli Interior Ministry. Thousands of Jerusalemite children face numerous difficulties and hardships in regard to their registration on their parents' Jerusalem ID cards, especially if one of the parents is from the West Bank. The Interior Ministry adopts a number of strict measures in regard to the registration of children, causing major suffering to Jerusalemite children, including denial of their right to medical treatment, and the right to social & economic insurances, benefits and allowances provided by the National Insurance Institute.

 

Over the past four years, the Center noticed an increase in the number of complaints submitted by Palestinian Jerusalemites against the National Insurance Institute. It received more than 1,250 complaints, related to Palestinian Jerusalemites' denial of medial treatment, child benefits, income assurance, and elderly allowance.

 

 

The Center expects that the suffering of tens of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites will increase as a result of Israel's construction of the Apartheid Wall around Occupied Jerusalem, especially those living outside the Wall. They will be denied their social and economic rights provided by the National Insurance Institute.

 

The report notes that there are no official guarantees that Palestinian Jerusalemites will lose their rights. In 2003, the Center received from the Israeli Interior Minister a reply to its inquiry into the legal status of Palestinian Jerusalemites residing outside the Wall. The Interior Minister's reply was vague. The reply included no information that those residents might lose their social and economic rights, including the right to residency.

 

7) Increase in Unemployment & Poverty Rates:

 

In its report, the Center notes that the Israeli measures taken during the Intifada have significantly contributed to increasing unemployment and poverty rates among Palestinian Jerusalemites, with a total population of around 250,000.

 

The prevailing security situation, especially the wave of explosions carried out in West Jerusalem followed by measures taken by Israel to confront these attacks, has lead to the dismissal of hundreds of Palestinian Jerusalemites from their work, especially in hospitals, restaurants, hotels, and some official departments. As a result, unemployment rates have dramatically increased among Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Thousands of Jerusalemite unemployed approached the National Insurance Institute seeking income assurance allowance. According to data obtained from the Israeli Ministry of Social Welfare & Labor, and the Social Welfare Department at the Jerusalem Municipality, the unemployment rate is 47% and the poverty rate stands at 66% in Occupied East Jerusalem.

8) Closure of Palestinian Jerusalemite Institutions:

 

Since the outbreak of the Intifada in 2000, Israeli occupation authorities have shut down a total of 33 Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, including the Orient House. (A decision to close the institutions was originally issued in August 2001). They were closed on the ground that they are funded and supervised by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA).

 

 

The Center warned of the total closure imposed on East Jerusalem's Arab population (250,000) and the continued confiscation of their land in favor of Jewish settlement activities.

 

 

The entire situation leads to a real disaster threatening the Palestinian presence in the city of Jerusalem.