Now I know most readers of this blog are rather news informed so this title seems a reiteration of the obvious news stories. Instead I will to discuss the various ways Israel has been keeping this practice in regards to East Jerusalem. Now the article I referenced at the top can be found here and refers to 140,000 Palestinians who were stripped of their residency between 1967 and 1994 through various methods during times abroad, refusing most of them to return. The situation still remains in East Jerusalem and the article goes on to say
“Following the annexation of east Jerusalem, Israel distributed identity cards giving residency status – not citizenship – to Palestinians living in the city. They were permitted to apply for Israeli citizenship, but the vast majority refused on political grounds. However, if they leave the city for more than seven years, their east Jerusalem residency rights are revoked. Israeli citizens are allowed to leave indefinitely without penalty.”
“Since 1995, Palestinians have also been required to prove their “centre of life” is in east Jerusalem or face having their residency rights revoked. In 2008, more than 4,500 Palestinians had their east Jerusalem identity cards revoked, compared with 229 the previous year, according to the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.”
Also as the article mentions there is a high profile case about the issue going on now regarding a bookstore owner which can be viewed here. There was another high profile case under a year ago involving the stripping of East Jerusalem residency for members of Hamas which can be viewed here. (ignore the overtones, the members are what is important).
In addition to stripping the residency rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Israel violates international law in many other aspects. As Human Rights Watch says Israel exercises
“frequent administrative demolition of property, homes, as well as schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem due to the absence of construction permits, their issuance being frequently denied to Palestinians…and imposed discriminatory municipal planning systems in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, disproportionately favoring the Jewish population of these areas. These policies amount to violations of the rights to nondiscrimination, to privacy and to a home, and to a family life”
Also says Human Rights Watch
“In addition to the discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian life in East Jerusalem imposed by zoning and Israeli building law, the Jerusalem municipality’s plans further restrict Palestinian construction there…Israel’s Master Plan for Jerusalem continues a longstanding policy on the part of the Israeli authorities to reduce or at least cap the Palestinian percentage of Jerusalem’s overall population…The Master Plan states that one of its objectives is to ‘maintain a ratio of 70% Jews and 30% Arabs within Jerusalem…and according to one analysis, the plan will impose further discriminatory restrictions on Palestinian construction by requiring landowners to prove that the area in question has no environmental protections in place or ‘any archeological or Jewish religious significance.”
In regards to the legality of houses in Jerusalem Human Rights Watch stated
“Israel has demolished a disproportionate number of Palestinian homes on the grounds that they violate building codes. From 1996-2000, more than 80% of recorded building violations were in West Jerusalem, but 80% of actual demolition orders issues by Israeli Authorities were against buildings in Palestinian East Jerusalem…in 2009 according to the UN, Israeli Authorities demolished 80 structures, displacing 300 people in East Jerusalem alone.”
Makdisi points out in his book “Palestine Inside Out” that according to a UN report “the wall has cut off a quarter of Jerusalem’s Arab population from the city,” which was found illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. Also Makdisi points out “Palestinians have access to only 10% of what Israel defines as Jerusalem and that 90% of what was added to Jerusalem by Israel is off limits to Palestinian development plans because the land is already built on by Jewish settlements or being held in reserve for their expansion.”
So although it may be the news of the day that Israel has been stripping residency in the West Bank for the bulk of its occupation, there are still plenty of issues going on right now in Jerusalem that use similar tactics. I could spend hundreds of pages documenting other aspects of the occupation on East Jerusalemites but I feel this suffices to show the matrix of control.
Photo from www.levantinecenter.org