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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: Oct 23, 2017

Zurba family between economic pressures and loosing residency rights

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Salwa Fouad Qassem al-Zurba joined thousands of Palestinians who lost their residency rights in Jerusalem without prior warning. Two weeks ago, al-Zurba headed to one of the medical centers for medical treatment, yet she was surprised to be informed that she has no more rights to medical treatment in the center due a decision adopted by the Israeli National Insurance Institute (INII). For Palestinian population in Jerusalem, losing the right to medical treatment means a step towards losing the entire residency rights in their city and entering a new deep whirlpool to start a long journey of proving their center of life in Jerusalem. It also means engaging in a bitter battle for regaining their social and economic rights which the INII obliged by law to provide to every citizen in the city in exchange for paying monthly fees.

The sarcasm in Zurba case is that her family owns a building in al-Wad Street in the old city of Jerusalem which was taken over by Jewish settlers in 1987. Following a long strive with legal proceedings against settlements societies, the family succeeded in regaining control of 12 of the entire 18 rooms that comprises the building. Israeli courts are still discussing the fate of other rooms.

Speaking to JCESR, Zurba son, Ala', said his family owns another house at al-Wad Street intersection with the al-Buraq Wall (Wailing Wall), where he was born with his brothers. Four of his cousins now live in that house. He added that his family has never left its place of residency. Ala'a expressed his surprise for targeting his mother. "If she is not a resident of Jerusalem, this means that the entire family is threatened with losing their right of residency in our city, he said.

He added, "since the beginning of the year, they (INII) requested us to provide documents proving that we reside in the city, on allegations that their reports prove the contrary." Ala' wondered "how come while we are engaging in a permanent conflict with them over ownership of our property and in continuous dispute with their taxation department, particularly property tax (Arnona) for more than twenty years?"

He continued that what happened with his mother on March 14 had proved that they did not consider the documents in their possession. On that date, officials at the medical center informed his mother that she was no more has the right to medical treatment and that her residency right was revoked and no more able to travel abroad.

Ala' believes that his mam's case, is part of the Israeli pressures imposed on his family to force it to accept appropriation of their properties in the Old City. He added that they (Israelis) impose a lot of costly economic pressures by their various institutions which amounted to almost NIS 3,5 million in Arnona tax in addition to NIS 1,5 million as income tax.

He said that these huge pressures came in response to the failure of various attempts by the settlers to tempt the family to withdraw its case that requests the evacuation of settlers from parts of it property locating near Suq al-Qatanin.

Recalling the harassments against members of the family, he said, we are subjected to continuous harassments by Israeli police. ''On several occasions we were beaten and arrested and our store was raided several times," he said.

However, he connected the decision to revoke his mother's residency right with the recent court decision, which supported the family ownership of a land lot adjacent to the Jewish synagogue which was inaugurated two months ago. Despite the court decision, he said, the settlers continue to control the land, while the police refuse to implement the court decision by evacuating the settlers.

Commenting on the issue, director of JCESR , said al-Zurba is only one of thousands cases against Palestinians in Jerusalem, in which Israeli Ministry of Interior cooperates with INII to deny Palestinians their social, economic and finally residency rights in Jerusalem.

He noted that the center is now following cases where the Palestinians lost their residency rights following their travel abroad through the bridges with Jordan. He cited as an example the case of his daughter which left for a short visit to Jordan, but upon her return, he was surprised to receive a notification that she is no more residing in the country. "We were obliged to provide Israeli Ministry of Interior with all the documents that prove the contrary," he said.

According to estimates of the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselm), Israeli Ministry of Interior has annually revoked some 1000 ID cards of Palestinians living in Jerusalem. The biggest number was in 2006 when more than 1300 ID cards were revoked. However, between 2007 and 2008 the number reached more than 4000.

Previous data estimated that since mid nineties, when Haim Ramon was in office, more than 8000 Palestinian families (more than 30,000 individuals) were victims of this Israeli policy.

However, He concluded that the real threat to Palestinian presence in the city lies in the isolation policy, which the Israelis began to implement against their big communities which are deserted by the segregation wall as is the case with al-Ram, Dahiet al-Barid, Ras Khamis, Dahier al-Salam where the people there are facing the danger of losing their residency rights in their Holy City in the coming few years.