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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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Annual Narrative Report (2005)

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The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights

 

 

 

JCSER Annual Activities Narrative Report 2005

 

'January 01 - December 31, 2005

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights documented a significant increase in Palestinian human rights violations by Israeli authorities in 2005 in comparison with the preceding year. The most notorious violation is the erection of the Apartheid wall around occupied East Jerusalem, which has created a profound toll on the suffering on the everyday life of average Palestinian residing in occupied East Jerusalem. The Apartheid wall has been declared by the Israeli High Court as a "political wall", where Israeli authorities use it as a land grab instrument confiscating Palestinian private land on daily basis. It is also used to impose restriction of movement on Palestinian in Palestinian areas and separating family member from one another and the formation of Palestinian "Ghettos" completely surrounded by the infamous wall.

 

Thousands of Palestinian families' social and economic rights are being violated on daily basis; aside from restriction of movement the Apartheid wall has placed them outside of occupied East Jerusalem, which threatens the validity of their Jerusalemite identity and will eventually deny them their right of residency in Jerusalem. The Israeli escalation including the discriminatory home demolition policy under the pretext of "building without permits" at the same time the Israeli authorities continues to build hundreds of homes in new settlements or in newly expanded existing ones on confiscated Palestinian land in occupied East Jerusalem. The demolition of Palestinian homes has significantly furthered the affects of daily economic suffering by Palestinian Jerusalemites. Even the most basic human rights were violated by Israeli authorities such as, freedom of religion and the protection of holy Christian and Muslim sites.

 

Political developments, the Apartheid Wall, and social and economic consequences

The forcing of newly forged political reality on the ground has been the Israeli authorities' main policy making instrument in the occupied Palestinian territories including occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities have been using its far superior military might in the occupied territories to draw fictitious border lines and to divide Palestinian districts in order to enforce its land grab policy and forcefully impose final Israeli state borders on the Palestinian people. In turn this has inflicted serious and disastrous economic and social damage on the Palestinian people.

 

The continuation of building the Apartheid wall in and around the eastern part of occupied East Jerusalem is threatening the existence of a Palestinian existence in occupied East Jerusalem, as its ramifications will create mass evictions of thousands of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem and its suburbs. These affects include denying Palestinians from receiving medical attention, because they can't reach medical clinics or hospitals; denying children from reaching their schools and threatening the right of Palestinians to live in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

JCSER's legal, media and research units were able to prove that the construction of the Apartheid wall will have consumed more than 72 kilometers squared by the end of its completion. The Center's legal unit received dozens of complaints from Palestinians tormented by the wall. By the end of its completion more than 170,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites will be placed outside occupied East Jerusalem; including approximately 75,000 from Shu'fat refugee camp, 70,000 from Kufur Aqab, Qalandia, Al Ram and Dahiyat Al Barid and 30,000 from Abu Diess, Izariya, eastern Sawahreh and southern Jerusalem.

 

The isolation of such heavily populated areas has reflected renowned ramifications. The right of movement for Palestinian citizens has been obstructed especially for students, patients and workers. The inability of movement among Palestinian workers instigated the termination of their employment, which created very high levels of unemployment among Palestinian work force. This intensified the poverty level, increased crime rate and the emergence of new deviant social phenomena.

 

In response, a small percentage of Palestinian families managed to move within the Israeli fabricated city limits of Jerusalem, which in turn increased the Palestinian population density within the very limited Palestinian areas west of the wall. The Center noted approximately 1500 Palestinian families managed to move to such areas away from the Apartheid wall and its disastrous implications. This move has negative economic affects due to high housing rental cost and Arnona.

 

The wall or the newly fabricated city limits of Jerusalem has included West Bank areas with their residents and they are threatened to by evicted from their homes at any moment because they don't posses a Jerusalem or Israeli identity card. The Israeli authorities have the intention to evict them and confiscate their properties under the pretext of "illegal aliens to the State of Israel" and thus, they have no right or residency. Their properties will be subjected to the highly questionable absentee law as it occurred with approximately 120 Palestinian families in the Dahiyat Al-Salam and Anata districts, as well as Old Biet Hanina, Al-Walajeh and Abu Diess districts.

 

The Centre also observed the transformation of Qalandia check point in the north and Bethlehem / Gilo check point in the south of occupied East Jerusalem to border crossings and uncovered parts of Israel authorities' master plan on the ground and to physically annex occupied East Jerusalem into Israel. The Israeli authorities have isolated a minority of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the population on the other side to the wall and the West Bank; changing the demographic and geographic characteristics and facts of occupied East Jerusalem in preparation to convert the holy city to be a part of Jewish capital. In turn, this would grossly violate Muslims' and Christians' right to freely practice their religions respectfully in the holy city and would endanger the existence of Muslim and Christian holy sites.

 

Since the beginning of the second Intifadah, Israeli authorities have been denying Jerusalemite Muslims under the age of 45 and all of Palestinians residing in the West Bank to enter Al-Aqsa mosque to perform Friday prayers. The Center also noted the increased intervention in the internal affairs of the Orthodox Church to initiate and intensify internal conflicts.

 

Home Demolition

JCSER noted the continued escalation of Israel's home demolition policy in occupied East Jerusalem. The Center observed approximately 250 homes demolished during 2005 compared to 223 homes demolished in 2004. Since the beginning of the Intifadah and till the end of 2005 the Israeli authorities demolished more than 600 homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Women and children were the majority of the victims of this notoriously racist policy. The Center observed and documented the continuous and wide home demolition policy against Palestinian homes and the endless recurrence of Israeli violation of international law. Issuing demolition under false pretexts and imposing double penal system on Palestinian home owners. The continuation of West Jerusalem Municipality's and Police units' raids on construction sites confiscating of Palestinian contractors' building materials and equipment and imposing heavy fines and jail warrants on Palestinian home owners.

 

The Center followed up continuously and participated extensively (legal advocacy and public support) with the demolition order to approximately 100 homes in Bustan neighborhood of Silwan district, south of Jerusalem's Old City. The Center also adopted several home demolition orders case files from the Silwan snd Jabal AlMukaber districts that were caused by Jewish settler groups, demanding the removal of Palestinian homes adjacent to the newly built settlement in the Jabal AlMukaber district. In addition, the Center also followed up on more than 85 home demolition case files.

The legal unit's figures indicate stricter Israeli policies on Palestinian building in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext of 'building without permits' without accounting for their own regulations regarding building codes, creating impossible conditions for Palestinians to attain a building permit. In addition, the Israeli government financed the West Jerusalem Municipality with five million NIS to support the demolition effort of Palestinian homes.

At the same time, the Israeli authorities are building settlements in occupied East Jerusalem extensively, largely influencing the demographic figures. Newly documented, in 2005 is the demolition of multiple level (more than 2 stories high) buildings. As it occurred in the Shayyah neighborhood, where a 13 story building that contained 24 apartment units was demolished; as well as demolishing a 4 story building that contained 10 apartment units in Beit Hanina neighborhood.

Family ReunificationThis category of legal cases has always been at the forefront of types of cases that were received by the Center due to discriminatory practices by the Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem. These case files were added to the hundreds of Family Reunification case files that the Center received over the course of 8 years.

The Center successfully closed reunifying dozens of Palestinian families and re-activating dozens of other case files. Despite that hundreds of Palestinian families continue to suffer due to the Israeli government's decision to freeze the processing and the acceptance of new Family Reunification applications for Palestinian families as well as the new citizenship law the Israeli Kennest ratified increasing restrictions on Palestinian families to live in occupied East Jerusalem. These developments have victimized Palestinian children and created unbearable social and economic implications due to the break up of Palestinian families. The separation of family members (husband and wife) has led to family instability and an increase in divorce rate. The legal unit's focus includes Family Reunification cases because of its significant importance in the well being of Palestinian society in occupied East Jerusalem, because this problem was significantly amplified after the erection of the Apartheid wall in and around occupied East Jerusalem.

 

 

 

This type of case files deals with the most basic human rights, the right for a family to live together. The discriminatory practices by the Israeli authorities and the construction of the Apartheid wall under the pretext of "Israel's security measures" have achieved nothing but significant amount of suffering to Palestinian families by separating family members from each other, depriving them from the right to earn a living and creating dangerous social implications among citizens in a Palestinian society. At JCSER we have reason to believe these consequences are the product of intentional Israeli tactical plan to break up and create social abnormality in Palestinian society.

Jerusalemite ID Card Confiscation

Throughout 2005, the Center monitored and reported Israel's gradual expulsion of Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem. In 1995 Israeli government began implementing a policy of denying Palestinian Jerusalemites the right of residency in occupied East and continued to become a major threat for Palestinian existence in occupied East Jerusalem. Since the establishment of the Center its different departments worked tirelessly and vigorously on monitoring the series of developments in the expulsion of Palestinians policy and continuously warned of the serious ramifications on the social and economic situation of those affected by the expulsion policy.

 

During 2005 the expulsion policy hit 110 Palestinian families and the Israeli authorities denies them the right of residency in occupied East Jerusalem for the simple fact that their homes is on the other side of the Apartheid wall or outside the fabricated city limits of Jerusalem. Adding them to more than 6,000 Palestinian families totaling to more than 20,000 Palestinians were affected by this notorious Apartheid policy over the past 10 years. The continuation and the development of the expulsion policy by the Israeli authorities will have relentless affects on thousands of Palestinian families in years to come.

 

The latest development of the expulsion policy was the placement of more than 100,000 Palestinians on the other side of the Apartheid wall and now are considered to be outside of Jerusalem's or occupied East Jerusalem's boundaries and according to Israeli law they will lose their right of residency in occupied East Jerusalem in less than 7 years. The Apartheid wall has transformed this ruthless policy to a mass expulsion policy. Palestinian Jerusalemites are facing an intimidating and terrifying future with disastrous social and economic consequences leading to an eventual humanitarian crisis.

 

With its modest resource, the Center was able to make a difference in combating the expulsion of Palestinians policy, where the legal unit's activities rigorously followed up with case files that it received and the Center was successful in proving the right of residency of the affected Palestinian families who reported their case to the Center. In addition, the Center was able to preserve their right to social and economic entitlements. This initial success needs extensive follow up by the Center's legal unit with the different Israeli institutions including Israeli courts.

 

Registration of Child

 

This subject is tied with the "Identification Card Confiscation" matter and thus, registering children is tied directly with the parents' residency status. If one of the parent's residency rights has been revoked or under the process to be revoked the child can not be registered as a Jerusalemite and can not reside in Jerusalem. The number of Child Registration case files has drastically dropped because of the intensity of problems Palestinian parents are facing to retain their residency rights in occupied East Jerusalem. The parents know that their attempt to register the file is hopeless and it will be immediately rejected because according to Israeli law the residency right of Palestinian child is based on the parents' residency status and not where the child was born.

 

The Center's legal unit was able to register more than 55 children from a previous 120 Child Registration cases that have been continuously followed up. Some of these case files are or were being followed up in the Israeli Ministry of Interior or the Israeli courts. The suffering does not end when the child has been registered at the Israeli Ministry of Interior but the parents have to follow up with the Israeli National Insurance office for social and economic entitlements and to provide continuous proof of residency in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

Arnona, 'Excise Tax'

The Arnona is the most frequent type of case files that the Center had received and treated with in 2005, as the Center received more than 70 case files during the year. There are several ways to treat the Arnona case files, either by direct settlement with the Arnona office and make a payment arrangement or sometimes the Center is successful in obtaining sizable reductions in the claimed amount by taking the matter before the court.

 

The Center has documented dozens of seizures on Palestinians' assets in 2005 because they refuse to pay the Arnona. The Arnona is a clear violation of international law, where the occupier can not impose any type of taxes on the occupied. In addition to legal representation, the Center's legal unit offered one on one consultation to East Jerusalemites on how to properly treat their problems with the Arnona office.

 

Social and Economic Rights - National Insurance

As an occupier, Israel, is obliged by international law to secure the most basic social and economic rights of occupies' population, the Palestinian people. On the contrary the Israeli government, Ministry of labor and social affairs, has forged set of rules only for Palestinian Jerusalemites forcing them to prove Jerusalem residency within Jerusalem's fictitious borders at any moment they are asked to provide. The National Insurance Institute uses these rules to deny Jerusalemite Palestinians their basic rights under the pretext 'they are not residents of Jerusalem". Adding to denial of basic social and economic rights the Ministry of Interior would proceed to confiscate their ID cards and thus, their residency right.

 

Health care, old age pension, child allowance and income supplement are among the social and economic rights of Palestinian Jerusalemites. National Insurance case files take first place in terms of number of legal consultations, case files and court petitions. During 2005 the Center's legal unit worked with more than 135 case files and submitted 42 complaints to the National Insurance Institute and the court. The Center was able to close 37 case files with favorable court decisions and settlements were reached with the National Insurance Institute to reinstate health care and other social and economic insurance benefits to Palestinian Jerusalemites.

 

DATA AND FIGURES

Case File TypeCall and drop in consultationCourt CasesCourt Sessions
Home Demolition1324655
Family Reunification Jerusalem ID Card Confiscation1701012
Child Registration65511
Arnona10343
National Insurance1671825
Miscellaneous8744
Total72486109

Shortfall of Funds and Its Impact on the Centers Services:

The shortfall of funds the Center have experienced in the year of 2005 has been the largest since its establishment causing a significant negative impact on the Centers role in providing legal assistance and advocacy services to a large number of Palestinian families that are affected by Israels discriminatory policies and measures (It should be noted that families are often affected by multiple actions on the part of the Israeli Occupation authorities). The Center kept its minimal operation working with less than 30% of its usual annual budget.

The significant reduction in financial support and hesitation on the part of some partners to allocate funds they had committed took place. At the same time the Israeli occupation authorities continued to escalate its execution of existing practices and introduce new discriminatory (Apartheid) policies. All of which combined to complicate the Centers operation and place obstacles in its path, as the Center works to provide legal assistance to a larger sector of affected Palestinians Jerusalemites. The need continues to be enormous and urgent. For an example, there has been a sharp rise in the number of parents having trouble registering their children on their Jerusalem ID cards. During the year of 2005 compared with previous years, the number of cases more than doubled. However, due to sizeable depletion of funds the Center had to turn away a significant number of them.

 

The drop in the number of cases in some categories certainly does not mean that Palestinian Jerusalemite families are not facing problems. On the contrary, the range and number of problems faced by Palestinian families are on the rise. Clear indicators can be found in the volume of daily follow-ups carried out by the Centers public relations, legal and media units and the receipt of thousands of telephone calls annually in addition to the sheer volume of correspondence carried out by the Centers lawyers as they carry out their work of communicating with the Israeli authorities.

 

In addition to the Centers legal assistance and advocacy, the Center usually carries out a community awareness campaign highlighting the residents social and economic rights. However, in 2005 the Center was not able to carry out a media campaign in the Palestinian and Israeli media to disseminate information about its mission and to expose Israeli authorities human rights violations in occupied East Jerusalem. The campaigns would have significantly contributed to raising awareness among large sectors of Palestinian Jerusalemites, awareness particularly in the area of Arnona taxes, and the preventative actions Palestinian Jerusalemites must take when bulldozers attempt to demolish their houses. Palestinian Jerusalemites now rush to the Center seeking legal assistance. The public awareness campaign was not carried out due to significant lack of funding.

 

Practical Measures Taken by JCSER

JCSER has suffered and continues to suffer from shortfall of funds. The Center was able to keep essential employees only, and they were put on part-time schedules and salaries, due to depleted funds. The Center also have sought after new donors, and looked to increase the participation of the local community despite its own hardships, out of concern for the Centers continued ability to provide legal assistance to Palestinian Jerusalemite families affected by Israeli authorities human rights violations.

 

 

 

The financial crisis has had a significant negative impact on the performance of some the Centers units, particularly the media unit and the research unit, on which the Center largely relied upon in implementing its future plans and projects. As a result, the Center was forced to cancel all of its development plans relating to these two units, in addition to closing down the Hebrew website despite its importance and urgent need for informing the Israeli public about the human rights violations that are committed by the Israeli authorities and the Centers activities in countering those violations. The Center was also forced to stop its data collection and research concerning human rights issues.

 

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

The Center received a distressing number of complaints against continuing Israeli Human Rights violations against East Jerusalemites in 2005 as a result of Israeli discriminatory policies from previous years. In addition, Israeli authorities created obstacles in the path of the Centers legal unit which made it ever more difficult for the legal unit to deal with the case files that the legal unit is working on and in representing the Centers clients.

 

It was apparent from the enormous number of complaints that the Center received during the year of 2005, that the Israeli authorities continued to violate Palestinian Jerusalemites social and economic rights in the areas of right to shelter, right of movement, right of residency and many other social and economic rights. However, due to significant drop in funding the Center was only able to handle very limited number of complaints.

 

It was evident that the free legal assistance and advocacy that the Center offers to residents of occupied East Jerusalem gave excellent results considering its very limited resources. These results gave the Centers clients their rights back when the clients gave up hope. From the successes and achievements mentioned in this report, the Center learned that perusing legal avenues concerning family reunification and national insurance case files would result in obliging the relative Israeli institute in removing the illegal obstacles that it has put forth previously. Thus, through a court order, the Center obliged the Ministry of Interior to remove obstacles that it has put forth in family reunification applications and forced the Ministry of Interior to reactivate applications that were previously canceled even if the applicant was unable to follow up with his or her application. This milestone achievement resulted in reactivating thousands of applications that were previously considered as canceled and rejected.

 

 

 

The continued decrease in the number of some types of case files the Center has been working with for many years. This is due to increased discriminatory regulations that have been put forth by the relative Israeli authority as obstacles in disqualifying applications. These regulations were created to cover the discriminatory practices by the Israeli authorities to create a legal deadlock. One can find these kinds of discriminatory practices in the following areas: citizenship or entry to Israel law, extension of working permits, freezing the acceptance of family reunification applications. Consequently, the legal unit cannot accept new case files in the above-mentioned areas until the Israeli government changes its discriminatory practices and the Centers legal unit can resume receiving new case files.

 

The continued illegal cooperation between Israeli government institutions to create a delay in the process of working on the case files especially in the files that have more than one complaint. In addition to the unnecessary delays created by different government institutions there is an illegal exchange of information between them. For an example, it was obvious that the Ministry of Interior was dependent on the National Insurance Institute investigator's reports on its decision making process. Even though both institutions have different work mandates. This kind of information exchange is against Israeli law and thus, is considered as an illegal conduct.

 

As it was last year, throughout the year of 2005, national Insurance, building demolition and family reunification case file types continued to rank the top three in terms of numbers on the case file type list. The complaints the center received reflects the actual social and economic hardship that Palestinian Jerusalemites endure on daily basis. Illustrates the importance of the Centers work and the need of institutions such as JCSER to address and deal with the human rights violations committed by the Israeli authorities. An institution like JCSER receives clients who are in critical need of free legal advice and representation.

 

 

Despite its very limited resource, JCSER is employing all it can to address and work with the reality of suffering that Palestinian Jerusalemites live with every day. The nature of JCSERs work and its mission that it was established for need continued support for sustainability and development of JCSERs important work and significant effectiveness. However, the financial difficulties the Center has experienced for the past two years had negative effects the services the Center provides one way or another. In addition, the Centers professional team expects the number of East Jerusalemites turning to the Center for free legal advice and representation to double in the up coming period of time. Due to the continuation of building the Apartheid wall around Jerusalem by the Israeli authorities. The consequences of this wall will commit disastrous human rights violations against tens of thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites who will lose their residency, social and economic rights in occupied East Jerusalem.

 

SYNOPSIS

Postponement of demolition orders and cancellation of prison terms for three Palestinian Jerusalemites

June 14th, 2005

JCSER's legal team was able to reach a settlement with the Israeli Municipality Court to delay the demolition of three housing structures in occupied East Jerusalem and the cancellation of the owners' prison terms.

 

 

The Israeli Municipality Court agreed to a settlement with the home owners through JCSER. The settlement included delaying the demolition order, canceling the prison term and reducing the fine against each of the three home owners. The names of the home owners in questions are Oman Shaloudi, Ibrahim Abu Khatir and Walid Jabir.

 


JCSER interferes Israeli District Court obliges Israeli National Insurance Institute to reinstate old age pension and healthcare insurance benefits for two Jerusalemite families

June 22nd, 2005

JCSER was able to attain a court order to reinstate Bisaiso family's health care insurance after a six year suspension. JCSER applied to the NII an application to reinstate the Bisaiso's healthcare insurance in 2003 and it was quickly rejected. Then the Center was forced to file a petition in the Israeli District Court to reinstate the family's healthcare insurance. During the court proceedings the NII agreed to reinstate the family's healthcare insurance backdated to August 2003, the time the application was first submitted by JCSER.

 

 

In another matter, JCSER was able to get the NII to disburse 25,000 NIS in back pay old age pension to Palestinian Jerusalemite Fatima Qutaina from occupied East Jerusalem. In addition, JCSER managed to convince the NII to write off 35,000 NIS from an original amount of 57,000 NIS that was owed by Mrs. Qutaina to the NII. The cancellation of the majority of the large debt came after JCSER submitted a petition to the Israeli Labor Court. This lead to a settlement after Mrs. Qutaina agreed to pay a first installment of 7,000 NIS and pay the balance in ten equal payments.