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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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Study entitled Chronic Racial Discrimination in East Jerusalem released

The Jerusalem Center for Social & Economic Rights (JCSER) has published a study entitled Chronic Racial Discrimination, which was prepared by Meir Margalit, a prominent member of Israeli Meretz Party, and former high-ranking member of the Jerusalem Municipality.



The study confirms that the Municipality adopts a policy of chronic racial discrimination against Palestinian Jerusalemites, undermining Israeli claims of one united Jerusalem.


The study, which highlights the volume of discrimination practiced agaist Palestinian Jerusalemites, is based on an auditors report published in mid-2001 and therefore constitutes a reliable reference for analyzing the elements of the municipal budget.


First: Demography in East Jerusalem:


The study confirms that the demographic issue in East Jerusalem is unresolved and is subject to various interpretations. A study by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, and one by the Population Registry Bureau at the Israeli Interior Ministry, differ by approximately 70,000 people.


According to data released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics for the year 2001, Jerusalems total population is 670,000. Some 444,300 inhabitants are Jewish (66.3% of the population) while the remaining 225,400 (33.58%) are non-Jewish (Moslem and Christian Arabs make up 98% of that figure, the rest are Christian immigrants).


The Population Registry Bureau data is updated daily and takes into account every birth and death, as shown in the records of the Interior Ministry. According to data from July 2002, Jerusalems total population is 740,366. Some 486,480 are Jewish (65.7% of the population) as opposed to 240,721 non-Jewish (34.3% of the population).

The study reveals important figures about the number of Arab children, aged 0-10 years, who make up 40% of the total number of children. The Arab percentage of the population will reach 42% by the year 2010. But according to calculations by Professor Sergio Dala Farghola, based on data from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, the percentage of Arabs is expected to reach just 35% by 2010, and 38% by the year 2020.

It should be noted that the above figures ignore the fact that tens of thousands of Arabs live illegally in East Jerusalem without an Israeli ID card and are not registered in the Population Registry Record. These include Palestinians married to Palestinian Jerusalemites who did not obtain family reunification approval from the Israeli Interior Ministry. According to estimates, around 20,000 people live in the city unofficially and are not

listed in the statistics.


Second: Socio-Economic Structure of Palestinian Residents of East Jerusalem:

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem have a low socio-economic level compared to their Israeli counterparts, as most of them live below the poverty line. Around 58% of East Jerusalems residents live below the poverty line, and 68% of children under the age of 18 in East Jerusalem live in poverty. The gap between Palestinians and Israelis has deepened since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000

Third: Water & Sewage Investments:


Water and sewage services are run by the private Jihon Company, which belongs to the Jerusalem Municipality. Therefore, its budget is not part of the municipal budget. Total investments in the water infrastructure in East Jerusalem are estimated at 2,723,000 shekels, as opposed to 26,450,000 shekels in West Jerusalem. The total investments in sewage and sanitation in East Jerusalem are 13,000,000 shekels as opposed to 30,500,000 shekels in West Jerusalem.


The discrimination in the volume of investment in East Jerusalem is linked to the severe shortage of infrastructure services [water and sanitation] compared to West Jerusalem


Fourth: Planning & Construction Policy:


Discrimination against East Jerusalem does not only appear in budget distribution, but also in planning and construction related issues.

Spread of the Problem:



  • In East Jerusalem, there are more than 35,000 buildings, 32,000 of which are used as housing units, and 3,700 as business units;


  • One-third of these buildings were built without permits and are considered illegal under Israeli law. The number of illegal houses in the city is estimated at 10,000. Around 1,000 houses are built annually, only 200 of which are estimated to be legally built, which means that four out of every five houses built are illegal.


Purpose of Planning & Construction Policy:


Planning and construction policy in East Jerusalem is politically motivated, aimed at maintaining a Jewish majority in the city and keeping the Arab population below 30% of the citys total population.




The thinking behind this policy stipulates that narrowing the construction area allowed for Arabs will reduce population growth and force people to leave the city to find new housing. According to a construction plan, some 17,000 housing units were supposed to be constructed in Shufat and Beit Hanina, but this plan was rejected by the Interior Ministry, which claimed that it would contradict the policy of maintaining a demographic balance in the city. The number of housing units was reduced to just 7,500.This attempt to reduce the number of Arabs in Jerusalem has failed, however, as Arabs have not left the city.


They have, in fact, increased in number despite the policies of ID card confiscation and revocation of permanent residency status adopted by Interior Minister Eli Sweisa. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have returned to the city of Jerusalem, thus increasing housing demand.


Why is it difficult to obtain building permits?


A number of technical or legal obstacles face residents of East Jerusalem who want to obtain building permits. Large areas of Jerusalems land have been declared unfit for building. Permits cannot be granted in these areas for the following reasons:


  • Around 40% of East Jerusalems land has been classified as green or open space. Construction is forbidden, because these areas are environmentally important. For example, 42% of Sur Baher is declared green area as is 60% of As-Sawahreh;


  • Future building plans allocate areas for public buildings. Nobody knows when these buildings will be erected, but construction there remains prohibited;


  • Lar0ge areas of Jerusalem are set-aside for unification and distribution, but this cannot be implemented due to the difficulty of contacting the original landowners;


  • Construction is not allowed in considerable areas due to a lack of infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewage works. These facilities are a prerequisite for granting building permits;


  • In East Jerusalem, the area allocated for building on is much smaller than in West Jerusalem, in a bid to reduce the potential number of housing units. This gap appears clearly when comparing Arab and Jewish neighborhoods;


  • Ras Al-Amud neighborhood is a good example of discrimination. The total area allocated for building is 115% and 50% for Arab neighborhoods. Due to the low construction percentage given to Arabs, which ignores family structure and housing traditions in Arab society, we end up with an untenable situation. For example, a family member can marry but cannot build a house near his family home, although there might be enough space. He cannot even add a floor to the existing family home;


  • Exorbitant costs for issuing a building permit, direct and indirect taxes, engineers and planners fees and other charges levied by the Municipality make building permits so expensive that in many cases, permit costs are higher than actual building costs. Connecting to the water network costs between 30,000-50,000 shekels. These costs relate to Israels building policy, while the majority of Palestinian villages lack water, electricity and sewage infrastructure facilities. Providing these services would require the investment of unrealistic amounts of money;


  • Difficulties in proving land ownership: Due to the absence of a regulated registration of land ownership, it is impossible to apply for a building permit, as Israeli law does not acknowledge Islamic laws pertaining to land ownership. As long as land ownership is documented in a Tabo [an official land registration document], a building permit cannot be issued. As Arabs did not document their land ownership under Ottoman rule, the British Mandate, Jordanian or Israeli rule, they are not legally allowed to build on their own land. The issue becomes more complicated when the land is owned by a number of inheritors, some of whom live outside the country, and from whom it is impossible to obtain a letter of approval. In such cases, the state will not grant a building permit until all inheritors have given approval. In light of these obstacles, illegal construction cannot be prevented. Living requirements are stronger than the Municipality, and lack of housing has become so critical that even violating the law no longer deters Arabs from building.

Fifth: Municipal Budget:



The municipal budget is divided into two categories:

  • Ordinary budget, which includes the Municipalitys running expenses;
  • Extraordinary budget, which is allocated to development projects.

The extraordinary budget investment in East Jerusalem in 2000 was 49,360,247 shekels, 9.5% of the total extraordinary budget. In other words, the amount of the municipal budget invested in East Jerusalem ranges from 8.69% to 11.18%: the Municipality invests 4,661 shekels on every Jewish citizen, and 1,043 shekels on every Arab citizen.




Important Data about Education:

  • According to Population Registry data at the Interior Ministry, some 70,000 children (from kindergarten to secondary level) live in Jerusalem;
  • Of those 70,000 children, some 29,000 studied in official schools during the 2000-2001 school year, distributed in 1,029 classrooms;
  • Some 20,000 children attended private schools that belong to churches and Islamic Waqf;
  • Around 5,000 children studied in the Palestinian self-rule areas;
  • 10,000 - 15,000 children remained outside the education process;
  • The percentage of Arab students in compulsory education is 37.8% of the total number of students in the city;
  • The percentage of Arab students in the official education apparatus is just 17.5%;
  • The volume of investment per Arab child in compulsory education is 1,424 shekels, and 4,214 shekels per Jewish child.


Social Welfare Department:

  • During the year 2000, the Social Welfare Department provided services to 42,357 families in West Jerusalem, with a total number of 86,800 family members, and 8,442 families in East Jerusalem, with a total number of 28,400 family members;
  • 54% of East Jerusalems population lives below the poverty line, (a total of 128,000 persons);
  • Only 28% of the needy in East Jerusalem received services provided by the Social Welfare office, while 99,600 had no access to social welfare services;
  • The Social Welfare Department has three offices in East Jerusalem: in the Shufat, Silwan, and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods, with a total of 42 employees and social workers. This means that every social worker in East Jerusalem is responsible for 188 files;
  • In West Jerusalem, there are 20 social welfare offices, with 252 social workers.

Public Centers:


  • In 2000, 35 public centers were operational in Jerusalem, five of them in East Jerusalem;
  • The budget allocated to the public centers in East & West Jerusalem amounted to 12,177,451 shekels;
  • The budge allocated to the five public centers running in East Jerusalem was 1,347,058 shekels.


Cultural Department:



In 2000, there were 39 municipal libraries in the city: 36 in West Jerusalem, and 3 in East Jerusalem.

Public Health Department:



  • The main service provided by the Public Health Department is the creation of mother and child health care centers throughout the country under the auspices of the official health law;
  • In Jerusalem, there are 37 mother and child health care centers, 5 of which are in East Jerusalem;
  • There are three centers operating in Jewish neighborhoods on the demarcation line, from which Arab residents also benefit;
  • The ratio of mother and child health care centers to the number of children up to the age of six is 1,821 in West Jerusalem and 68,822 in East Jerusalem.

Arnona Fees In East Jerusalem:

  • The residents of East Jerusalem paid 6,854,658 shekels to the states treasury in exchange for fees, fines, permits and licenses;
  • Improvement taxes: 2,979,466 shekels;
  • Building fees: 2,602,977 shekels;
  • Illegal building fines: 1,272,215 shekels.

In 2000, the total amount of money paid by East Jerusalems residents to the WJM fund amounted to 106.6 million shekels.



The position of the Jerusalem Municipality toward East Jerusalem is complicated and contradictory. The figures in this research undoubtedly indicate that there is clear injustice and discrimination against East Jerusalem. This is based on national and religious grounds, which is otherwise known as racism. It should be noted that the people who run the Municipality are not purely racist motivated. However, there is a contradiction when we say that those who implement the Municipalitys policy are free from any racist motives, but the policy they implement is racist. The situation in East Jerusalem has created a new definition of racism: a state of ashen racism, which is not based on hatred or arrogance, rather on idleness, indifference and insensitivity.


A combination of bureaucracy and financial necessity has created a state in which a network of employees implement a racist policy, free from any emotional engagement, which has previously been a primary characteristic of racist regimes throughout history. Municipal policy can be classified as racial discrimination free from ideology, or pure of any national or religious hatred. The injustice in the municipal policy is codified in an organizational concept - when the budget is too limited to cover all requirements, there is a table of priorities to determine which party will receive resources. According to this theory, there is no point distributing financial resources equally, because no one will benefit adequately or enjoy effective services.

When every authority is asked to determine which sector will be given priority, it naturally favors those to whom three main criteria are applied: those who ask for their rights, those who form a majority of voters, and those who are close to the heart of the authority. Under these criteria, Arabs are outside the circle of beneficiaries, as they do not ask for their rights, do not vote for Ehud Olmert, and are not close to him. This unjust, discriminatory modus operandi makes all municipal employees implicitly guilty of discrimination. Every manager sees the injustice and accepts it.

The most successful way to avoid responsibility for discrimination is by keeping away from East Jerusalem, and transferring responsibility for it to others. The WJM is operated by Arab sections that officially exempt most directors from responsibility for what is happening (or not) in East Jerusalem. A middle manager is not authorized to occupy himself with his neighbors problems, especially as work pressures do not enable him to deal with issues related to justice and equal distribution of resources. More importantly, the executive inclination prevailing in the Municipality creates a contradiction between the willingness to expand expected activities and the principle of equal distribution, especially as every shekel transferred to East Jerusalem is at the expense of other budgets in that section and affects achievements there. Therefore, every municipal manager is ready to sacrifice equality and justice for the sake of success. Main managers who cannot claim, like middle managers, that East Jerusalem is outside the framework of their responsibility, stick to the historical pretext to justify the injustice, claiming it is the result of former policy and the lack of infrastructure investment since the time of Jordanian rule. Accordingly, they are not responsible for the situation as they inherited it and are making efforts to eliminate injustice.

Another concept that enhances racism has emerged. An unjust organizational culture is growing among decision-makers in the Municipality. This is a real test of the moral immunity of the authority. The Mayor has chosen to pay lip service to a policy of equality while running a racist regime. High-ranking officials have found themselves unable to distinguish between good and bad, and have unintentionally become executers of a racist policy. Because most of them espouse liberal and democratic values, they are not ready to see reality as it is and so evade responsibility, projecting it onto the government, the Jordanians, or the PA.

Injustice and discrimination are concomitant to occupation. Racism grows where there is occupation. No nation enjoys immunity against this immoral situation, even the Jewish people, who should be more sensitive than others toward injustice and discrimination. It is possible to minimize racism, but not to avoid it. When the time comes to discuss the fate of East Jerusalem, we should raise the issue of the real price we should pay for the unity of the city. Then, we will be forced to choose one of two options: either to join the racist nations or declare that we are not ready to implement a racist policy and to separate in peace.