Photo Essay

Please wait while JT SlideShow is loading images...
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

mod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_countermod_vvisit_counter
mod_vvisit_counterToday415
mod_vvisit_counterYesterday2186
mod_vvisit_counterThis week13957
mod_vvisit_counterLast week14562
mod_vvisit_counterThis month31742
mod_vvisit_counterLast month63277
mod_vvisit_counterAll days3541961

We have: 39 guests online
Your IP: 54.234.255.29
 , 
Today: Dec 16, 2017

Intolerable and Inhumane Conduct at the Ministry of the Interior

Print PDF

Intolerable and Inhumane Conduct at the Ministry of the Interior

The painful, inhumane scene outside the offices of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior on Nablus Road, in East Jerusalem, reflects the bitter reality of Palestinian Jerusalemites.

The long queues are part of a scene that begins at night and continues through the following morning. Palestinians of all ages have to wait for hours in cold weather and under the pouring rain or under the burning sun because of a lack of adequate waiting rooms.

They are insulted and often degraded by police and security guards outside the office.

The suffering outside the Ministrys offices is exacerbated once inside. Palestinians are further humiliated, degraded and insulted by some of the employees and security guards.

The incident that happened to Hatem Khweis, a Palestinian resident of the At-Tur neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, and his pregnant wife a few months ago highlights the appalling treatment Palestinian Jerusalemites are subjected to at the hands of the Ministrys employees and security guards. Khweis and his wife went to the Interior Ministrys offices on October 9th, 2002, to process some official papers. My wife and I were attacked by the Interior Ministrys guards following a heated argument between me and one of the Ministrys employees who refused to help me or to answer my questions.

The attack was reprehensible and unjustified, Khweis stated. He added that the employee called five guards who attacked him and took him by force out of the office. When his eight-month pregnant wife intervened, one of the guards attacked her and pushed her. She fell to the ground. Khweis took her to hospital because she suffered bruises.

Khweis approached the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights to lodge a complaint against the Interior Ministry and five of its guards, and is taking legal procedures against them to receive compensation for the attack. The Centers director, regards the attack as one of a series of repressive measures to which Palestinian Jerusalemites are exposed on a daily basis.

This attack reflects Israels official policy aimed at denying Palestinians rights, abusing them, and disrupting their interests, JCSER's Director said.The Center is one of the most active Palestinian institutions operating in East Jerusalem.

Through its legal unit, it fights Israels racist, discriminatory, and unjust policies towards Palestinian Jerusalemites, as well as the Israeli authorities attempt to deny Palestinian Jerusalemites their social and economic rights.

The Center had previously succeeded in obtaining a court decision forcing the Interior Ministry to take a series of practical measures to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian Jerusalemites who must stand in long lines outside the Ministrys office. Following this decision, the Center published instructions on citizens rights. Furthermore, the Center was able to force the Interior Ministry to implement some procedures to improve the waiting areas provided to applicants. However, the Ministry failed to fulfill its commitments. Therefore, Palestinians continue to suffer and the long queues in the open air remain.

Among the procedures that the Interior Ministry had promised to apply was to rent a bigger building than the one it presently operates from to improve waiting conditions. It also promised to increase its staff and to enable citizens to fix an appointment for the following day by phone.

However, none of these measures have been acted on. Three years have passed since these agreements and the Ministry remains in the same building. No additional staff has been hired. The phone line for making appointments is always busy.

The only change is the increase in the number of applicants waiting outside and the emergence of the scoundrels phenomenon. These are people who charge citizens NIS150-300 to reserve them a place in the queue.

Citizens must let them know ahead of time when they are coming to the Ministry and they will reserve them a place, at the expense of those who arrive at the queue the night before and wait 14 hours or so to enter the Ministrys office the following day. All this can been witnessed on a visit to the Ministrys offices on Nablus Road. Some citizens bring protective covers; some bring books or newspapers to pass the time while others bring hot drinks for the night and the next day. One can also see Ford Transit drivers who rent their cars as bedrooms to those who spend the night outside the Ministrys office.

These inhumane, degrading scenes, which Palestinian Jerusalemites experience on a daily basis, are a direct result of the bureaucracy of the Interior Ministry and its intention to deliberately upset the interests of citizens.

Palestinians have also become the victims of unscrupulous lawyers, some of whom make good money at the expense of the suffering of citizens. Having documents processed through a lawyer costs upwards of $300 per case. It is not uncommon for lawyers to take up ten cases at the same time.

All this happens with the knowledge of the Ministrys officials and the police, who do nothing in this regard. They claim that their responsibility is limited to the Ministrys offices and does not extend outside them.

Palestinian Jerusalemites are aware that Israeli institutions, including the Interior Ministry, have intensified their repressive procedures in an unprecedented manner since the beginning of the Intifada in October 2000. In addition to the intensified measures and entry restrictions, an undeclared war was launched by the Israeli Interior Minister, Eli Yeshai, when he issued a decision in May 2002 to freeze all family reunification applications for Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Despite this decision, the Center has succeeded over the past few months in obtaining tens of court orders preventing the deportation of Palestinian families and in obtaining the Ministrys approval of family reunification applications.

The suffering of Palestinian Jerusalemites at the hands of the Interior Ministry, and its deliberate intention to hamper their interests, began in 1995 when it started to confiscate the ID cards of Palestinians. This policy continued during 1998 and 1999 and through 2000, although at a reduced level.

The policy of ID card confiscation was implemented two years after Jerusalem was geographically isolated from the West Bank in March 1993. The demographic issue was the main purpose of this policy.

Israeli officials are no longer afraid of hiding their concern over the growing increase in the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites, which threatens the demographic balance in the city, as successive Israeli governments have been keen over the years to maintain a Jewish majority of 72% against an Arab population of 28%.

However, the ID card confiscation policy has lead to adverse consequences. According to Israeli data, some 2,000 ID cards were confiscated during 1995-2000. During the same period, some 20,000 Palestinians returned to live inside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, combined with an increase in the phenomenon of unlicensed construction. Palestinian and Israeli data indicate that some 6,000 Palestinian houses were built during this period.

The maltreatment of Palestinians by the Interior Ministry and its intention to disrupt and hamper their interests, to humiliate and insult them, and to emphasize the painful scene outside its offices are all part of a policy based on discrimination and racism, as confirmed by a recent study published by the Center and prepared by municipal member Meir Margalit. In the study, Margalit confirmed that there is a policy known as chronic discrimination in Jerusalem, a claim he supports with data and figures.

A great part of the summary by which Margalit concluded the study is applied to the suffering of Palestinian Jerusalemites, not only before the Israeli official institutions, but also in everything related to their daily life. He says, The situation in East Jerusalem has created a new definition of racism and was extended to news fields, because reality in East Jerusalem has added to professional literature a new state that was not known before, a state of ashen racism, which is not based on hatred or arrogance, rather on idleness, indifference and insensitivity.