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Protecting Palestinian citizenship rights in East Jerusalem Report 2014


Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem





Contents Special Thanks






Chapter One: An Introduction to Jerusalem The Jerusalem Master Plan 2000 Adalah Objections to the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan The Demographic Balance and Land Expropriation Urban Planning and Policies Land Policies in Jerusalem Demolitions and Building Permits The Barrier Checkpoints Conclusion

13 14 15 17 18 18 18 18 19 19

Chapter Two: Citizenship Rights Introduction The Status of Palestinian Jerusalemites, 1967 - Present The Municipality’s Master Plan Residency Revocation Family Unification Child Registration Illegality of Israel’s Residency Policies in Occupied Jerusalem Aliyah, Residency Rights for Jews in Israel Conclusion

21 21 21 22 22 23 23 24 24 25

Chapter Three: House Demolitions and Displacement Introduction Israel’s Demolition Policy The Demolition Process The Impact of Demolitions on Palestinian Families Conclusion

27 27 28 28 30 31

Chapter Four: The Disappearing Cultural Heritage Introduction Historical Background Sites of Significance in the Old City of Jerusalem Timeline of Threats against Significant Sites Israel Responds: A Year of National Heritage Altering Street Names, Changing the Past Cultural and Intellectual Robbery Efforts to Preserve Palestinian Heritage Legal Implications Conclusion

33 33 33 33 34 35 35 36 36 37 37









Special Thanks... We would like to say a special thank you to the following individuals who contributed to the drafting of this paper: Megan Driscol (International Campaign to Protect Palestinian Residency in Jerusalem) Linda Ramsden (Director, ICAHD UK) Amaani Hoddoon (Student and FOA Intern, Summer 2013)





Background The Palestinian heritage within the city of Jerusalem spans millennia. Christian, Muslim and Jewish Palestinians lived and worshipped in the Old City for centuries, long before the state of Israel was created. In 1967, when Israel began its current occupation of East Jerusalem it was compelled by international law to govern in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which places a number of obligations on Israel in its administration of the Palestinian territory. East Jerusalem contains the major religious sites sacred to Muslims (Al-Aqsa), Christians (Church of the Holy Sepulchre) and Jews (The Wailing Wall).

heritage in the city is being jeopardised as a result of deliberate policies which amplify Jewish religious and historic claims while undermining, deliberately or otherwise, Palestinian Muslim and Christian heritage. Citizenship rights are under constant threat and family unification is routinely denied due to complex and iniquitous residency laws, which regulate Palestinians while Israeli Jews and illegal settlers are conversely allowed free access to the city. Further to this, the natural expansion of Palestinian families is not accommodated by regulations such as planning and building permits, making everyday life tremendously difficult. Desperately needed homes built illegally due to the lack of permit grants are in constant threat of demolitions.

Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem are ‘protected’ civilians in accordance with the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as the Hague Regulations. According to the provisions contained within these international instruments, there is no difference between East Jerusalem, and the rest of the West Bank. It is considered to be occupied land since 1967, belonging to the Palestinian people. Israel has ratified the Fourth Geneva Convention and is bound to follow its provisions, which include a prohibition against forcibly transferring occupied people out of their territory and transferring ‘parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies’ (Article 49). While Jerusalem is often called a contentious city, with Israel attempting to annex it by creating a ‘Greater Jerusalem’ surrounded by a ring of illegal settlements intended to consolidate Israeli control of East Jerusalem, in fact the legal and historic Palestinian rights to the city are unequivocal. Prior to the occupation of the city, Jerusalem was a Palestinian city which was administered by various authorities. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, at the same time when numerous other jurisdictions entered statehood, Palestine was not given the same opportunity. Due to the fracture caused by the war of 1947/48, and the creation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, the Palestinian Territories were unable to achieve self-determination. Jordan administered Jerusalem and the West Bank and before a state of Palestine could emerge, Israel’s occupation began. The lack of a Palestinian state prior to the occupation is used misleadingly by some Israeli politicians, to suggest that therefore there is no occupation. This is a deliberate obfuscation and is rejected by the international community, which has passed several UN Resolutions calling for an end to the occupation.

The occupation of East Jerusalem has persisted for almost 50 years. Palestinian Jerusalemites whose families have resided in the exceptional city for generations retain ties to the land, which are deep-seated and remarkable. Their struggle to remain in their city of birth and heritage is full of sorrow and distress, as they became relegated to second-class citizens facing the constant threat of deportation from the city. This report outlines their struggle and why there is a need for international attention and intervention to put an end to this unjust, prejudiced and illegal occupation of East Jerusalem.

This report outlines Israeli polices in Jerusalem since 1967 which have undermined Palestinian rights within the city and stripped Palestinians of free access to their holy religious sites. Palestinian 7




Introduction Jerusalem is a city that occupies hearts and minds for billions of people around the world. The Islamic traditions venerate the Holy Al-Aqsa Sanctuary as the most important site in Jerusalem and the point of departure for the prophet Muhammad on the celestial night journey. The Jewish traditions elevate the Western Wall of the Al-Aqsa complex as the remains of the celebrated Temple of Solomon. The Christian traditions commemorate the life of Jesus within the city and mark the journey to his crucifixion along the rambling alleys of the Old City to the Church of Holy Sepulchre.

constant threat of eviction and trespass as Israel lays claim to their neighbourhood. This is an escalation of the occupation which now seeks to erase the cultural heritage of the Palestinians. An Israeli archaeologist, Yonatan Mizrahi, who previously worked for the Israeli Antiquities Authority left his position as he was disturbed by the use of archaeology for political purposes. He commented that even if archaeologists were to dig up a big sign which read ‘Welcome to King David’s Palace’, that would not give Jewish Israelis the right to claim East Jerusalem today. “Just like if the Vatican found something here, it wouldn’t give the church the right to take ownership of this land. The bottom line is that Palestinians are the majority in East Jerusalem.”2

Palestinian Jerusalemites, of all three Abrahamic faiths, have inhabited this holy place for centuries with minor exceptions. During the 1948 war, the historic city was carved up with West Jerusalem coming under Israeli control and East Jerusalem, home to the Old City, staying within Jordanian control. The war and occupation of 1967 marked the beginning of the occupation of East Jerusalem and the struggle over control and access to religious sites became an everyday struggle for those within the city. In East Jerusalem, the holy sites to Islam, Christianity and Judaism have all come under Israeli administration as part of the Israeli efforts to unify East and West Jerusalem to create a single Jerusalem. This Israeli attempt to unify Jerusalem was rejected by the international community in a UN Resolution1 which stated that the measures taken by Israel to change the status of the city are invalid and they called on Israel to ‘desist forthwith from taking any action which would alter the status of Jerusalem’. After the occupation, Israel provided Palestinians within the city with a ‘permanent residents’ status, and, those who fled from the violence were devastatingly not allowed to return home to Jerusalem and have remained refugees since.

Silwan is a small example of the risk Palestinians in Jerusalem face under occupation. For many years, Palestinians within the West Bank have been unable to freely visit the city of Jerusalem and are barred from even visiting family members without an Israeli permit. Such permits are hard to obtain and create a division between Palestinians in East Jerusalem and communities in the West Bank. This separation has been reinforced by the building of a massive illegal settlement belt around the whole of East Jerusalem. Once incorporated into the city, the deliberate strategy of settlement building will result in a Jewish Israeli majority of 70 per cent in Israel’s unified version of Jerusalem, thus deliberately engineering a change to the facts on the ground to allow greater credibility to Israeli claims over the city. Of the 18,000 acres of land comprising East Jerusalem before 1967, almost 10,000 was expropriated from Palestinians directly or indirectly for Israeli use.3

East Jerusalem has changed dramatically since the occupation began. Palestinian suburbs and districts have undergone massive transformations and pressures from Israeli settlers are changing Palestinian areas beyond recognition. The Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem is nestled on the hill-side with a glorious view of the golden Dome of the Rock sat atop the Al-Aqsa esplanade. The once Arab neighbourhood is being gradually occupied by settlers, and dozens of Israeli flags can be seen across rooftops in the area. The neighbourhood, which has been home to generations of Palestinian families is now hailed as the ‘City of David’ and its character and spirit is being destroyed in favour of a Jewish Israeli claim to the city based on religious mythology. Silwan’s 40,000 Palestinian residents now face

By cutting off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, Israel also ensures that Palestinian claims to the city are undermined. The settlement plan was 9


conceived early on. Israel declared that only 12 per cent of the land in East Jerusalem was to be zoned for Palestinian residential purposes. All of this land was already developed when the occupation began, thus no growth was being catered for. In contrast, 34 per cent of the land was zoned for future Jewish only settlements which were yet to be constructed.4 The building of settlements commenced decades ago and have shown no signs of abating. Month after month, settlement expansion continues as the growth of the orthodox extreme religious settler numbers increase. The birth rate amongst the settler population is three-times greater than the rest of the Israeli population5 leading to a faster rate of increase in the settler population. In 2012 alone, the settler population increased by 4.7 per cent.6 The building of the Separation Wall is completing the incorporation of the illegal settlements into Israel. The wall is intended to create a de-facto border between Israel and the West Bank, which finally and completely cuts Palestinians off from Jerusalem. This will result in a complete demographic change to the city of Jerusalem: Current Demographic status in Jerusalem (2013)7 Palestinians Jewish Israelis Total

Number 268,000 492,000 760,000

Percentage 35% 65% 100%

The route of the wall means that 130,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites will be isolated from Jerusalem. 210,000 illegal Israeli settlers on the other hand will be annexed by the wall. Thus, the demographic change will be devastating and Palestinians will become a small minority in a city which is pivotal to them historically and culturally; through a deliberately engineered process by Israel to alter the facts on ground. There are sixteen checkpoints along the barrier surrounding East Jerusalem and Palestinians who are lucky enough to obtain a permit to travel can only use four of these checkpoints. The occupation of East Jerusalem has been devastating for Palestinians. The city was the critical centre of the Palestinian economy before 1967 and housed the major political, educational and health care institutions. By severing the link, the stability of the Palestinian economy and society is undermined and the damage is long lasting. Israel has entrenched its occupation using a number of measures, which ensure Palestinians have little control over their own land. This report assembles contributions from organisations and individuals with an expertise in the occupation of Jerusalem, and aims to provide a full over view of the situation on the ground and the degree of oppressive policies suffered by Palestinian residents in the city. 10






Chapter One: An Introduction to Jerusalem The status of Jerusalem as a potential international or divided city is a controversial issue today. Since the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, the ‘reunification’ of Jerusalem by Israel has been witnessed. Jerusalem is situated in the West Bank, and in Eastern Israel. The historic city existed on both sides of the armistice ‘green’ line and was split into East and West Jerusalem in 1948. Israel controlled

West Jerusalem and Jordan administrated Palestinian East Jerusalem. Following the occupation, both sides are now administrated by Israel whose claims of sovereignty over the whole ‘united’ city are rejected by the international community. Upon occupation, Israel unilaterally changed the boundaries of the city from 6 sq km to 64 sq km.

Source: UNISPAL8



inaccessible to English readers, but the Coalition for Jerusalem has translated part of the document into English,14 which outlines the Plan. The plan forecasts that current population demographics suggest that the Arab population in 2020, without the migration of Jews, will be 40%.15 This is much higher than the previously preferred demographic ratio balance. The Master Plan set out developments for Jerusalem which would ensure that Jewish demographic advantage prevails in Jerusalem.

Culturally, Jerusalem enjoys a healthy tourist industry and travellers are magnetically drawn to East Jerusalem and the Old City is a main attraction. Over 3.1 million non-domestic tourists visited the city in 2012 and the current mayor, Nir Barkat, announced plans to increase this number to 10 million annually in the next decade, at the Second Jerusalem International Tourism Summit.9 80% of tourists visiting Israel visit Jerusalem during their trip, and in the entire industry in 2011, Israeli income from tourists was $US 3.8 billion.10 Palestinians in Jerusalem make up a third of the city’s total population, but the Israeli authorities only invest up to 11.75% of the municipal budget in Arab areas.11 Thus, despite the tourist revenues which are being created by the Old City of Jerusalem in Palestinian East Jerusalem, the Palestinian Jerusalemites do not benefit from this income which Israel absorbs. This chapter will explore the ways in which Jerusalem’s character is changing and discuss the geo-political implications of these changes. It will address the Jerusalem Master Plan 2000, and implementation policies undertaken by Israel to bring fruition to this plan.

The Jerusalem Master Plan 2000 Following the annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967 and the ‘unification’ of West and East Jerusalem, the Israeli state claimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1980. Although this has been rejected by the international community, the General Assembly of the United Nations had in fact proposed previously that Jerusalem be an international city, however they asserted that neither Palestine nor Israel should be able to claim the city as their capital. In 1947, the General Assembly Resolution 303 stated that Jerusalem was to be established as a corpus separatum to be administered by the UN. In a UNCTAD report released in May 2013, however, it was stated that Jerusalem as an international city is unrealistic. The Israeli authorities have been administering Jerusalem since 1967, including occupied East Jerusalem.12 All member states of the United Nations have rejected Israeli claims and refused to move their embassies from Tel Aviv, the recognised capital of Israel. Although the entirety of Jerusalem is administered under Israeli law, it can be considered to be divided politically, socially and physically. Since the annexation of East Jerusalem, Israel has attempted to control the city’s demography. Palestinians have struggled immensely with development, while Israeli settlements continue to grow rapidly. Since 1967, the Israeli authorities created ‘facts on the ground’ which obfuscate a resolution on the issue of Jerusalem.

Barkat has written that the master plan for Jerusalem is being implemented and that “practically everyone is working according to this plan, although it is not yet official”.16 Much of the plan focuses on the expansion of residential areas in Jerusalem and the establishment of new Jewish neighbourhoods. The plan is also known as Plan No. 4 and is not a prominent feature in Israeli legislation or discourse and there is no official recognition of it. However, the ideas outlined in the Plan are wholly consistent with the actions undertaken by the Israeli administration in Jerusalem, and the expansion of the settlements consolidated by the building of the wall.

The Jerusalem Master Plan 2000 was the first major plan for the city since 1959.13 It contends with everything from transportation to open spaces. The official plan is available in Hebrew which makes it 14


A further ‘Jerusalem Regional Master Plan’ was published in 2008, and drew great objection from human rights groups on the ground. In Particular, Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, objected to the plans on the following grounds:17

Thus, the transportation system would connect the Gush Etzion area with the Ma’ale Adumim bloc and E1, and with the Givat Ze’ev bloc, as well as connecting all of these settlements with the Jerusalem city centre and the Jerusalem district. 5. An analysis of the route of the Eastern Ring road, for example, and the route of the proposed railway indicates that they would in practice only serve the Jewish Israeli population and that it would be very difficult for the Palestinians in the area to use them. In other words, the planned infrastructure excludes the Palestinian population, on the basis of their national belonging, and the sole purpose of this infrastructure is to strengthen and develop the settlements in the area of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and to connect them directly and conveniently to Jerusalem.

Adalah Objections to the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan

1. The master plan for the Jerusalem region would carve up the Palestinian neighbourhoods in Jerusalem and sever them from each other, and would violate the constitutional rights of their residents. The designation of large tracts of land for roads and railroads would lead to the massive expropriation of land from the Palestinian population, harm what few land reserves remain in these neighbourhoods for future development, and greatly reduce the potential areas available for housing and additional development purposes.

6. The designation of large tracts of land for roads and railways would lead to the expropriation of these lands from the Palestinians, would harm what few land reserves remain in these neighbourhoods for future development, and would greatly reduce the potential areas for housing and other development purposes, including economic and social development.

2. An analysis of the plan’s documents indicates that its goal is political and that it is designed to ensure full and perpetual Israeli control over occupied territory for the use of the Israeli population, and to ensure a long-term Jewish majority in the area of the city of Jerusalem. Indeed, “the recommendations for strengthening and developing the city of Jerusalem” on page 9 stipulate, inter alia, that: “The population target set for the year 2020 requires the preservation of the Jewish majority […].”

7. The proposed transportation system, in conjunction with the Separation Wall in the area, would constitute physical borders severing Palestinian neighbourhoods from each other. The severing of these neighbourhoods will also make it very difficult to continue to conduct social, family and neighbourhood relations, in addition to the existing economic relations between the neighbourhoods. 8. The proposed transportation system treats the East Jerusalem area like an empty, unpopulated space. The drafters of the plan ignore the existence of a large number of homes adjacent to or on the route of this transportation system. They draw the lines of infrastructure without any consideration to the legitimate planning interests of the residents of the existing Palestinian neighbourhoods. This would lead to the demolition of a large number of homes and the expulsion of their inhabitants. Even in the best case scenario, noise and air pollution would severely harm the residents’ quality of life.

Restrictions on the development of Palestinian areas to promote the interests of the settlements 3. The plan proposes a transportation and road system that disregards the legitimate interests of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. The plan would carve up the Palestinian neighbourhoods and preclude their future development, turning them into islands cut off geographically, economically, socially and transportationally even from their immediate surroundings; not to speak of blocking any possibility of the future development of these neighbourhoods and making it difficult for their residents to access public services, even when these services are located close by.

9. The plan’s directives impose many additional restrictions that would check the future development of the Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. For example, the plan conditions the approval of local master plans and the granting of building permits on the existence of legallyapproved sewage plans. However, as is well known, there are no sewage systems in most of

4. At the same time, an analysis of the plan’s documents indicates that the primary objectives of the planners are the political interests of expanding and strengthening the settlements. 15


the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. According to data from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Yearbook – Jerusalem, No. 9, sewage systems exist in only nine of the 31 neighbourhoods/villages in East Jerusalem (p. 128). This clause makes it even more difficult to obtain building permits, already a cause of great hardship for the Palestinian population.

ramifications of extensive expropriations in the area on landowners, etc. 13. Constitutional law: The objectors argued that the plan severely violates the right of property of the Palestinian residents in the planned area under Article 3 of the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, as well as their right to dignity according to Article 2 of this law. Pursuant to these laws, Israel must give equal consideration to the Palestinian population’s right to development.

10. Moreover, the plan demarcates the area of the Old City and its surroundings and stipulates the need to preserve the character of the area. The borders of the Old City in the plan extend far beyond the walls of the Old City and reach adjacent or nearby Palestinian neighbourhoods. Thus, the stipulation that development in these areas is conditional upon preservation and rehabilitation would constitute an unjustified constraint on development. In addition, the plan designates a large area adjacent to the Palestinian neighbourhoods of Gabal al-Mokaber and al-Thori as “a nature reservation.” This designation means precluding the development of these Palestinian neighbourhoods.

14. The proposed transportation infrastructure would lead to the massive expropriation of land in Palestinian areas within the confines of the plan and would make it difficult for the residents to reach their lands. This would also constitute a very serious violation of the residents’ right to property and their ability to enjoy the land they own, and harm the rights of the residents to a livelihood and dignified existence. In addition, the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan strips the area’s Palestinian neighbourhoods of land resources critical for their urban and economic development. All this constitutes discrimination on the basis of national belonging, which amounts to a violation of human dignity.

Violations of Israeli law

11. According to court rulings, Israel’s actions in the Violations of international law area covered by the plan, as occupied territory, is subject to both the rules of Israeli administrative 15. An analysis of the plan’s documents indicates law and constitutional law, and primarily the Basic that it would necessarily entail the expropriaLaw: Human Dignity and Liberty. In recent years, tion of occupied Palestinian land and violate the the Supreme Court has referred to the language, basic rights of the Palestinian residents in these spirit and constitutional analysis of the law when areas. The plan’s main purpose is political and discussing the human rights of the residents inconsistent with international law to which the of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). State of Israel is bound as an occupying power in East Jerusalem. International humanitarian law requires Israel to address the vital needs of the civilian population under occupation and to refrain from implementing fundamental changes in the occupied area. It also prohibits the expropriation of the residents’ lands for political objectives. In this case, it is patently clear (and even expressed in the plan’s objectives as stated in its directives) that the violation of the Palestinian population’s rights in the area is not for immediate, essential military reasons that under international law would temporarily justify the 12. Administrative law: The decision to submit this violation. plan was made in complete violation of the rules of sound administration and in contravention of 16. As is well known, immediately after the 1967 the basic principles of administrative law. Despite War, the government of Israel decided to annex the fact that the plan addresses and affects broad approximately 70,500 dunams of occupied terriareas in which a Palestinian population resides, tory north, east and south of Jerusalem (now the planning committee and planners did not known as East Jerusalem). The annexation, which consider how the plan might harm the existing was implemented unilaterally, did not alter the neighbourhoods, the mobility of the Palestinian legal status of East Jerusalem under internapopulation in the area, the need for the future tional law and it remains, as it was on the eve development of these neighbourhoods, the of annexation, Occupied Palestinian Territory, impact of isolating them from each other, the and its residents are protected residents under 16


The Demographic Balance and Land Expropriation

the Fourth Geneva Convention. Indeed, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its advisory opinion of 9 July 2004 on the Separation Wall constructed by Israel, addresses, inter alia, the status of East Jerusalem in international law. The ICJ unequivocally reiterated that the status of East Jerusalem, like the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is occupied territory; that is, a place where the Israeli army rules in a real and operative way. The rule stating that the use of force must not produce or lead to any transfer or change of sovereignty constitutes one of the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. Thus, for example, Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 stipulates that the convention applies to the population in the occupied territory, even if it has been annexed to the occupying power.

The annexation of East Jerusalem was undertaken with one purpose in mind: to create a single city with a Jewish majority and a negligible Palestinian population.19 In order to achieve this vision, a number of steps needed to be taken, including positive strategies to maximise Jewish migration to East Jerusalem and the potential for increasing the Jewish population through settlement building. The annexation covered 70.5 km² of land20 and Palestinian Arabs owned the majority of the expropriated land privately.21 A census was conducted by Israel soon after East Jerusalem’s annexation which resulted in 30,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites being excluded from the city.22

17. As detailed above, the master plan would create a considerable destruction to extensive tracts of land for the purpose of the construction of settlements and an infrastructure system of roads and railways that would primarily serve the residents of the settlements and West Jerusalem, in contravention of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 18. Further, Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that extensive “appropriation of property” in the occupied territories constitutes a “grave breach” of the convention.

Demographic control is one of the main reasons for the Israeli authorities’ attempts to limit the Arab population. The Israeli government emphasises that it aims to maintain a 70% Jewish majority in Jerusalem against a 30% Palestinian population, although a 60:40 ratio is more probable by 2020.23 The authorities have attempted to reach this goal through restricting the population growth of the Palestinians by refusing citizenship rights and encouraging Jewish migration to Jerusalem, particularly in settlements built upon expropriated land in Jerusalem.24

19. The provisions of international humanitarian law prohibit the occupying power – that is, the State of Israel, including all of its institutions – from altering the character and nature of the properties in occupied territories unless this is undertaken in a proportionate way, for reasons of military exigency or to benefit the local population, as stipulated in Article 43 of the Hague Regulations. The Jerusalem Regional Master Plan, however, does not fall within the framework of these exceptions. Thus, for instance, its main goal is described as, “The development of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and as an area connected to the Jewish people, while enabling additional religions to exist in dignity.”

Since 1967, East Jerusalem has experienced an influx of Jewish migrants. Before 1967, it was almost entirely inhabited by Palestinian Arabs but by 2012, almost 195,000 Jewish Israelis now lived there.25 Achieving an even larger Jewish majority in Jerusalem would not only further change the character of the city, but it would also destabilise rightful Palestinian claims to the city.

These concerns detail the degree to which Israeli policies in Jerusalem deliberately undermine the Palestinian heritage and basic rights within the city. A number of human rights monitoring groups raised similar concerns however, ultimately, in September 2012 the National Council for Building and Planning (NCBP) rejected all of the objections raised.18 Thus, despite the extent of the infringement of rights, Israeli policies of abject discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem will continue unabated.

15 of the illegal settlements built by Israel since 1967 are in the city of Jerusalem according to the new boundaries imposed by Israel.26 One settlement just outside Jerusalem, Ma’ale Adummim, has a population of around 40,000. From 1993 to 2000, its population had grown from 17,000 to 25,000.27 The government encouraged population growth in this settlement by reducing land prices and providing state allowances for mortgages. These Israeli settlements hinder future building and development opportunities for Palestinians in East Jerusalem. 17


Urban Planning and Policies

option of demolishing their own building. If this is not implemented, the municipality will carry out the demolition and charge the residents a fee at a much higher rate than it would cost them to demolish the building themselves. With 77% of Palestinians in East Jerusalem living below the poverty line, they are left with little choice but to demolish their own homes. Own demolitions are generally not included in municipality statistics that show how many demolitions have taken place. Of 85 demolitions carried out in 2008, 27 of these were ‘voluntary’ demolitions.34

Land Policies in Jerusalem Israeli urban policies have attempted to curb the growth of the Arab population through controlling Arab residential expansion. The Jerusalem Master Plan 2000 states that there is a need to maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, which will be achieved principally through migration.28 However, due to Jewish emigration out of Jerusalem and a higher birth rate amongst Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel’s demographic ideal is being challenged. The Master Plan seeks to encourage Israeli Jews to remain in the city through urban planning policies which encourage the expansion of current Jewish neighbourhoods and the development of new Jewish neighbourhoods.

The high cost of obtaining a building permit already puts it out of reach of many residents, while in addition to this, it can take years for planning permission to be granted by the planning and development authorities in Jerusalem. To get planning permission, the person seeking this permission may have to visit many different governmental departments and wait for weeks to be able to move on to the next part of the application. The need for more Palestinian residential buildings is immediate and many Palestinians cannot afford to wait for an unpredictable length of time for planning permission which is often denied. According to the Jerusalem Master Plan 2000, there are over 15,000 illegal Palestinian housing units in the city. This is out of approximately 53,000 units in total,35 thus constituting approximately one third of all Palestinian homes.

Conversely, in order to limit Palestinian expansion, the municipality of Jerusalem has designated green spaces upon which the Arab population of Jerusalem cannot build - these designated areas are to be free from construction. Approximately 44% of East Jerusalem is designated by planning schemes, including schemes such as maintaining green spaces.29 It should also be noted that much of the land that has not been expropriated by Israel has a low floorarea ratio, with limited scope for developing larger buildings.30 In addition, only 13% of East Jerusalem has been designated for Palestinian residential purposes. As mentioned in the introduction, much of that land was already built upon leaving little scope for expanding existing Arab residential areas.31 Such policies make life unbearable for many within the Palestinian population in Jerusalem, and the building of illegal Arab housing is a direct and unavoidable consequence of this. The ‘Judaisation’ and ‘de-Arabisation’ of East Jerusalem is a process manifested in the urban planning of the City of Jerusalem; limiting Arab growth and creating an apartheid system.

From 2000-2010, almost 90% of new Arab buildings have been built illegally.36 This illustrates the demand and the lack of recognition of the need by the Jerusalem planning authorities. Although the Arab population of Jerusalem is entitled to the same services as Israelis, the Arab population continue to pay taxes towards the municipality whilst they do not receive the same benefits. No public housing is provided for Arabs either, but poor Jewish families in Jerusalem are entitled to public housing (especially in the Eastern part of the city).37

Demolitions and Building Permits

The Barrier

Shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel demolished over 135 homes in the Islamic Maghrebeh area in the Old City, upon which illegal settler homes were built and a plaza adjoining the Western Wall. This had a major impact on the character of the city and resulted in a change to its religious character.32 Article 212 of the Israeli Planning and Land Building Law of 1965 has been the general justification for the demolition of many buildings and homes primarily in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This law states that building permits cannot be granted in areas that show consistent lack of infrastructure. This is a characteristic more present in Palestinian areas than Israeli areas and inhibits the possibility for growth and expansion of these areas.33

Construction of the Separation Wall being built by Israel within the West Bank commenced in 2002 and is almost 70 per cent complete to the total length of 308 miles. The wall enveloped Jewish settlements on or beyond the Green Line and East Jerusalem,38 extending far beyond the armistice line and excluding parts of East Jerusalem such as Kofor Akab and the refugee camp of Shu’afat whilst including some Jewish settlements, notably Ma’ale Adummim. This strategic route for the wall reduces the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem whilst increasing the number of Jewish settlers in the city, in line with achieving the intended demographic balance. In some places, the barrier is an 8 metre high wall made out of concrete (roughly 61 km) and in other places it is composed of barbed wire.39

Where homes are built without a permit, the Jerusalem Municipality will offer the residents the 18


Welcome to a-Zeitim crossing, one of the newer divisions inside of Jerusalem. Although hailed as an undivided capital, where Jewish-Israelis can trot from neighborhood to neighborhood, increasingly intractable metal is constructed between Palestinian localities. Like plantar warts, these checkpoints spread on the ridges and lowlands, hidden unless I look for them. Before last week I hadn’t heard of a-Zeitim, probably because cars can’t drive through, only foot traffic. And this checkpoint is nestled between Palestinian residential areas in the periphery of Jerusalem.

After the Wall is completed, almost 10% of the West Bank will be on the Israeli side of the wall and include the whole of East Jerusalem. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs states that around 55,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites are excluded from the city by the barrier.40

Checkpoints There are hundreds of permanent and temporary checkpoints and roadblocks across Jerusalem and the West Bank. Checkpoints prevent free-movement of Palestinians and have a great impact on the population’s ability to live normal lives as they impede every journey including those to work, school and hospitals. “Many checkpoints are manned by heavilyarmed Israeli soldiers and sometimes guarded with tanks. Others are made up of gates, which are locked when soldiers are not on duty. In addition there are hundreds of dirt or concrete roadblocks, which prevent the passage of all vehicles – family cars and ambulances alike.”41

The checkpoint forces Palestinians to walk through a hard corridor when strolling from Abu Dis to At-Tur. The two areas once were adjoining neighborhoods, like Greenwich Village and Chelsea, but now Jerusalem ID holders (a special status for Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who are not citizens of Israel, nor the West Bank) are separated by the infrastructural might of the Brooklyn bridge: a tower, a concrete fence and this checkpoint.” Checkpoints such as this one serve very little purpose other than making free movement of Palestinian Jerusalemites impossible. They are an added hardship to people who already endure so much difficulty on a daily basis.

Conclusion Since 1967, Israel has employed countless policies which seek to establish a Jewish-Israeli dominance in East Jerusalem, including a deliberate engineering of the city’s demographic profile. Palestinian residents of the city have limited rights and little access to public support despite paying the same taxes as their Israeli counterparts. The limited building permits granted to Palestinians for desperately needed homes have resulted in residences being built without permits, which are then subject to demolition orders. In the absence of public support for housing, families are left desperate and sometimes destitute. Overcrowding is rife and everyday life becomes a misery for many Jerusalemites.

In Jerusalem, checkpoints prevent Palestinians from the West Bank from freely visiting the city, and impede the ability of Jerusalemites from moving freely within the city itself. There are a total of 22 checkpoints in and around Jerusalem. Allison Deger42 writes of her experience at a Jerusalem checkpoint:

Israel has built 15 illegal settlements around East Jerusalem which cuts it off from the rest of the West Bank impeding Palestinian access to this central and pivotal city. Encouraging Jewish migration to Jerusalem by building illegal settlements on expropriated land is one of the major forms of discrimination in Jerusalem. Palestinians have restricted rights to live in the city while Jewish Israelis are effectively bombarded with incentives. The illegal annexation of East Jerusalem not only threatens its socio-cultural characteristics, it also allows the Israeli government to employ policies that clearly discriminate against the Arab population and encourages segregation and the violation of human rights.

“I’m standing in Jerusalem, but behind a five-lane, metal turn-stop, gated, chain-linked, barbed wire military instillation. There’s a call box with a button to alert the Israeli army when pedestrians want to pass. Even though I’m in a valley between windswept hills with cinder block houses and black water tanks on their roofs, I feel more like I’m in the parlor of Satre’s No Exit; sometimes the guards answer the buzz of the button, and sometimes the gates roll open, otherwise the checkpoint is locked. 19




Chapter Two: Citizenship Rights Introduction Introduction

The Status of Palestinian Jerusalemites, 1967 - Present

Palestinian Jerusalemites have a unique and Palestinianstatus Jerusalemites a unique and In spite ambiguous denoted have to them by Israel. ambiguous status denoted to them by Israel. of being born in the city and having familialInroots spite of being bornPalestinian in the city community and having familial there, Jerusalem’s members roots there, Jerusalem’s Palestinian community are identified as permanent residents rather than members aremeans identified as permanent residents citizens. This they are equated to foreign rather than citizens. This means they are nationals, permitting access to municipal services equated to foreign nationals, permittingother accessbasic and health insurance, but rendering to municipal services and health insurance, entitlements – such as free travel throughbut Israeli rendering basic entitlements – such as free borders – asother prohibited. travel through Israeli borders – as prohibited. Israel’s current Master Plan for Jerusalem Israel’s current Master Plan for Jerusalem explicitly indicates a demographic goal for the city explicitly indicates a demographic the of 70% Jewish to 30% Arab. Withgoal thefor Palestinian city of 70% Jewish to 30% Arab. With the community presently making up 38% of Jerusalem’s Palestinian the community presently making population, municipality continues to up enforce a 38% of Jerusalem’s population, the municipality system of discriminatory policies that aim to displace continues to enforce a system of discriminatory Palestinians from the city, rendering them effectively policies that aim to displace Palestinians from the stateless. city, rendering them effectively stateless. Methods of forced transfer range from explicit Methods ofofforced transfer frompolicies explicit that revocation residency torange implicit revocation of residency to implicit policies strategically serve to worsen the livelihoods that of Palesstrategically serve toSuch worsen theinclude livelihoods of on tinian Jerusalemites. laws the ban Palestinian Jerusalemites. Such laws include the family reunification, preventing West Bank ID holders ban on family reunification, preventing West Bank from gaining permanent residency status through ID holders from gaining permanent residency their Jerusalem ID-holding spouses, and tight status through their Jerusalem restrictions on building permits,ID-holding leading to further spouses, and tight restrictions on building illegal construction and escalating the risk of home permits, leading to further illegal construction demolitions. and escalating the risk of home demolitions. Our contribution to this paper will examine the Our contribution to this paper will examine thefrom status of Palestinians in Jerusalem, beginning status of Palestinians in Jerusalem, beginning Israel’s illegal annexation of the city in 1967, as well illegal annexation the city inby1967, asfrom theIsrael’s aforementioned policiesofenforced Israel as well as the aforementioned policies in the occupied city. This set of policies enforced will then be by Israel in thewithin occupied city. This setelucidating of policies on contextualized a framework, will then be contextualized within a framework, how each policy within, functions in direct violation on how each policylaw within, functions ofelucidating international humanitarian and international in direct violation of international humanitarian human rights law. law and international human rights law. Contribution by the International Campaign to Contribution by the International to Protect Palestinian Residency Campaign in Jerusalem Protect Palestinian Residency in Jerusalem  

The 1967 Six-Day War resulted in Israel’s illegal and de facto annexation of East Jerusalem.43 Immediately following its seizure, Israel conducted a population census of the city, whereby an estimated 30,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites44 were excluded45 as a result of having fled the area to escape the sudden escalation of violence. These 30,000 residents were thus no longer considered by Israel to be part of the city’s populace and consequently stripped of their right to return and live in Jerusalem. The 66,000 that remained46 were subjected, alongside Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, to Israel’s imposition of a codification of status, through which residents of the West Bank received Israeliissued orange IDs, residents of the Gaza Strip red IDs, and residents of East Jerusalem blue IDs. The status of Palestinians in Jerusalem was unique in that, unlike their countrymen in the West Bank and Gaza who were to be ruled under Israeli military law, they would now instead be under the regulation of Israeli civil law. Those in possession of blue Jerusalem IDs likewise were assigned the distinct status of permanent residents, rather than Israeli or Palestinian citizens, and continue to be categorized as such in present day. Permanent residency compels Jerusalemites to abide by Israeli domestic law without affording them comprehensive and equal rights bestowed unto citizens of the state. Permanent residents, for example, are required to obtain entry/exit visas when travelling across Israeli borders, with the exception of to/from the West Bank. Though they are able to participate in municipal elections, Jerusalemites are also prohibited from voting in Knesset [Parliament] elections. Furthermore, whereas citizenship is inherently passed down to a holder’s child, the same is not always true for permanent residency, as Israel has imposed numerous conditions that render many Palestinian children in Jerusalem ineligible for residency status at birth. Finally, Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who are married to Jerusalemites have been unable to obtain permanent residency status since the imposition of a 2003 amendment to the Nationality Law.47 This revision exists in stark contrast to the Ministry of Interior’s treatment of foreign nationals who marry Israeli citizens, who are themselves able to obtain full citizenship through a naturalization process.



to neighbourhoods in West Jerusalem and Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, the result of which has been an effective obstruction to the natural growth of the city’s Palestinian population. Between 1967 and 2010, such discriminatory methods were so effective in impeding Palestinian expansion in Jerusalem that the population decreased from 382,000 to 282,000.50 Simultaneously, Israel’s insertion of a growing Jewish population into areas of East Jerusalem has resulted in over 200,000 Israeli settlers living in 16 illegal neighbourhoods.51 Deliberate Israeli population transfer combined with forced Palestinian expulsion serve collectively to satisfy the government’s aforementioned demographic goals.

This limitation of rights essentially likens Jerusalemites to foreign immigrants who have moved to Israel, despite having been born in the city and lacking citizenship to any other state. By doing so, Israel actively incorporates the creation and perpetuation of a stateless group directly into its legal framework. The discriminatory treatment and policies applied toward those holding permanent residency statuses, along with the occupying power’s institutionalized effort to rid Jerusalem of its Palestinian populace, will be the focus of the remainder of this chapter.

The Municipality’s Master Plan

Residency Revocation The tactic of revoking residency IDs– that is, stripping Jerusalemites of their right to live in Jerusalem and oftentimes rendering them stateless – is among Israel’s most effective methods of forcibly removing Palestinians from the city, largely because of its subtle nature and focus on individual cases rather than a single collective expulsion. The practice of Jerusalem ID revocation; a process that remains at the complete discretion of the Ministry of Interior, has been in place since 1967. Prior to 1995, an average of 110 identity cards were seized annually. During this time, the Entry into Israel Law (1952) and Entry into Israel Regulations (1974) served as the bases for determining residency status. These policies stipulated that a person’s residency may expire if he/she gained residency or citizenship in another state or lived outside of Israel for more than 7 years. The 1988 case of ‘Awad v. Prime Minister, in which Mubarak ‘Awad attempted to contest the revocation of his residency status after violating these terms, brought about a more flexible legal understanding with regard to residency revocation eligibility. Justice Aharon Barak rejected ‘Awad’s appeal, reiterating the conditions set by Israel’s Entry laws and then expanded on these in his justification, specifying, “A permit for permanent residency, when granted, is based on a reality of permanent residency. Once this reality no longer exists, the permit expires of itself.” Based on this assertion, Barak found that ‘Awad’s “centre of life is no longer [Israel].”52

The Knesset’s inter-ministerial Committee to Examine the Rate of Development for Jerusalem, declared in 1973 that the “demographic balance of Jews and Arabs would be as it was at the end of 1972,” that is, 73.5% Jewish and 26.5% Palestinian.48 Planning and regulations in Jerusalem by both the Ministry of Interior and the Municipality have subsequently worked to preserve this proportion. The current population statistics report a percentage of 34% Arab within the city, which is a direct result of a higher birth rate amongst Palestinians. This has thwarted Israeli efforts to alter the demographic profile somewhat, however, consequently Israel has systematically implemented policies implicitly designed to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem in order to achieve the “balance” outlined 40 years ago. Presently, the city’s development operates according to the Municipality’s Master Plan 2000. Outlining a strategy for Jerusalem until 2020, the document reiterates what was stated in 1973, declaring it a primary goal “to secure an absolute Jewish majority.”49 Accordingly, advancement within the city is almost entirely limited

This notion of maintaining one’s centre of life in Jerusalem set precedence for future residency revocation, which intensified following a 1995 court ruling against Jerusalemite Fathiya Shiqaqi. Shiqaqi’s case was notable in that she had not violated any of the provisions stated in either of the Entry regulations, having only been out of the state for a period of 6 years.53 Nonetheless, her residency was revoked on Barak’s 1988 basis that Jerusalem no longer appeared to be her centre of life. This assertion, though not officially introduced into law, henceforth 22


manageable living situation. Once they do so, vulnerability towards having their Jerusalem IDs revoked is inevitably increased by a significant margin.

served as legal grounds in determining the legitimacy of one’s claim to his/her right to reside in Jerusalem. Additionally, the Oslo Accords of 1993 and the imposition of the Palestinian National Authority led Israel to begin regarding residency within the West Bank and Gaza Strip as being outside of Israel.54 Thus, families who had moved to the suburbs of Jerusalem, beyond the municipal boundaries, came under new threat of having their residency status’ taken away. As a result, a reported 14,20355 Jerusalem IDs have been revoked since 1967 – of which 11,099 were seized after 1995 (with over 4,500 IDs revoked in 2008 alone), largely based on Barak’s “centre of life” position and the identification of the occupied territories as being outside of the state.

Family Unification Prior to Israel’s 1991 imposition of permit requirements to enter Jerusalem from West Bank and Gaza ID-holders, Palestinian Jerusalemites were able to reside in the city with their spouses from elsewhere in the occupied territories with relative ease. Subsequent to this policy change, however, spouses were compelled to apply through the Ministry of Interior for family unification in order to live with their partners legally in Jerusalem.59

Barak’s declaration, now commonly referred to as the “Centre of Life” policy, has further evolved over the years to include an exhaustive list of documents that Jerusalem ID-holders must provide, whenever called upon, to prove continuous residency within the city. Evidence required is often so detailed that even those who have never left Jerusalem find difficult to supply. Examples of required papers include utility bills for the previous three years, property tax receipts for the previous three years, school certificates of children to show attendance within Jerusalem, work certificates, and proof of health insurance. Those who are not able to effectively demonstrate that Jerusalem has remained their centre of life for the previous 7 consecutive years are automatically at risk of having their residency status revoked.

In 2002, Executive Order 1813 effectively froze all such applications for spouses from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This order was later formally adopted into the Nationality and Entry in Israel Law in 2003 and justified on the basis of “security reasons.” Introduced as a temporary order, the status has been renewed annually since its inception. In 2005, Palestinian ID-holding women over the age of 25 and men over the age of 35 were granted by Israel the possibility to apply for temporary permits to remain with their partners in the annexed city; however, these permits, if approved, include no social benefits or health insurance to the recipient.60

Whereas revocation or renouncement of one’s Israeli citizenship is an intricate and lengthy process, the threat of having one’s permanent residency status revoked remains ever feasible and at the complete discretion of the Israeli Minister of Interior. Investigations of consistent residency may be entirely unprovoked and many Palestinians avoid visits to the Ministry of Interior for any purpose out of fear of having an enquiry initiated as a result. It is imperative to note as well that residency revocation exists as a policy to expel Palestinians from Jerusalem in conjunction with a collection of discriminatory measures set in place that are aimed to render life within the city as difficult as possible. Between 2003-2009, for example, Palestinian neighbourhoods received only between 7-12% of the city’s budget, despite paying over half of Jerusalem’s arnona charges.56 Likewise, nearly 450 Palestinian homes have been demolished in Jerusalem since 2004, displacing more than 1,700 people.57 Disproportionate building and planning initiatives, lack of proper sanitation services, and an increasingly high cost of living compounded with an approximate 80% poverty rate58 also serve to seriously damage the quality of life for Jerusalemites. Many Palestinians are accordingly compelled to move outside of Jerusalem, often to the West Bank, to find a more

As of 2012, over 120,000 applications for family unification in Jerusalem have been denied,61 forcing families to choose to live either separately from one another, together illegally within Jerusalem, or outside of the city, thus increasing the Jerusalemite spouse’s threat of losing his/her residency status.

Child Registration Child registration processes for children born to only one Jerusalem ID-holding parent are also considered by Israel within the family unification policy framework. That is, in the case of a child born in occupied Jerusalem where only one parent 23


International humanitarian and human rights law are thus both applicable when analysing Israel’s policies enforced within the city. In particular, Article 49(1) of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

has permanent residency status, he/she will not immediately be granted an identification number at his/her hospital of birth. Rather, parents must go to the Ministry of Interior to submit a formal request for their child’s registration. As with any procedural visit to the MOI, this process accordingly obligates applicants to satisfy the Centre of Life policy requirements and still leaves final approval of the request to the sole judgment of the Ministry. Moreover, standard procedures do not exist explicitly within the Ministry’s mandate regarding Jerusalemite children born abroad – including in the West Bank or Gaza Strip – and, as such, often result in denial of registration.62 Hence, many families find themselves having “mixed” identities, with some members holding Palestinian IDs, others Jerusalem IDs, and others without any official documentation.

Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive. In this regard, “forcible transfer” pertains not only to the revocation of residency rights but also to Israel’s deliberate interference with the quality of life in Jerusalem,65 often rendering much of the city’s Palestinian community with little choice but to leave. Article 49 similarly maintains that, “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,” highlighting the clear illegality of Israeli’s continuous imposition of Jewish settlements into East Jerusalem. Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) collectively prohibit the arbitrary deprivation of both citizenship as well as the right to enter one’s own country66 (the latter of which was ratified by Israel in 1991). Each of these agreements is actively violated by the occupying state’s aforementioned residency procedures, which are decidedly applied strictly on the basis of a person being born Palestinian.

Based on a 2005 amendment within the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, children with just one Jerusalem ID-holding parent have until the age of 14 to apply for registration. If a child is not registered prior to his/her 14th birthday, he/she may only receive a military permit valid for 1-year and subject to renewal; military permits grant access to Jerusalem but deny access to essential social benefits and may be revoked at the absolute discretion of the MOI.

Concerning its official position on the status of Jerusalem, the United Kingdom reiterates that of UN,67 maintaining, Since the war of 1967, HMG has regarded Israel as being in military occupation of East Jerusalem, and in this connection subject to the rules of law applicable to such an occupation, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949. HMG also holds that the provisions of Security Council Resolution 242 on the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war applies to East Jerusalem. The Venice Declaration and subsequent statements (both by the UK alone and with EU partners) have made clear that no unilateral attempts to change the status of Jerusalem are valid.

There are currently at least 10,000 unregistered Palestinian children living in occupied Jerusalem as a direct consequence of Israel’s discriminatory residency and family unification policies.63 These children are accordingly denied access to basic health, education, and insurance services and are often subjected to harassment at military checkpoints. The effects of the measures inevitably reach much farther than this estimate, as many families are compelled to live apart from one another, with children holding Palestinian IDs residing in the West Bank while their blue ID-holding kin remain in Jerusalem.

Aliyah, Residency Rights for Jews in Israel68 This chapter outlines the difficulties faced by Palestinian Jerusalemites who have centuries of history in the city. The level of discrimination is apparent when one considers the principle of ‘Aliyah’ which allows all Jews from across the world regardless of ethnicity and nationality, the right to reside in Jerusalem while Palestinians are denied their pre-existing right.

Illegality of Israel’s Residency Policies in Occupied Jerusalem The International Court of Justice’s 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Wall confirmed the United Nations’ position that East Jerusalem is considered to be an occupied territory and Israel its occupying power.64 24


Aliyah is the process of planned immigration to Israel, sometimes known as the ‘ascent’ towards Jerusalem. The scheme was set up to encourage Jews from across the globe to emigrate and settle in the land of Israel and constitutes a central tenet of the Zionist ideology. In order to facilitate the global migration, the Jewish Agency was set up by the World Zionist Organisation in 1929 following the 16th Zionist Congress.69 The organisation is one of the only such groups whose main ambition is to encourage and facilitate mass immigration into Israel, and its efforts have resulted in countless people immigrating to Israel thereby shifting the population dynamics in the region.

stronger, despite the fact that it remains under the Palestinian Waqf authorities control and is recognised as such under international law. Jerusalem hosted a massive Aliyah Event In February 2013, which sought to help “new and veteran immigrants find their feet in Israel”.72 The event was sponsored by a variety of Zionist groups. The “Aliyah 2 Jerusalem” website, a joint project between the Jewish Agency and the Jerusalem Municipal Absorption Authority provides help and assistance to anyone considering the move to Jerusalem, including Hebrew language services, employment opportunities in Jerusalem, educational opportunities and suggested neighbourhoods to relocate to in Jerusalem. All such services limit the challenges and obstacles for individuals and families who are considering the move. Such immigration helps alter the demographics and create a stronger claim for land ownership. However, more recently there has been a dip in the number of Jews exercising Aliyah. In fact, between 1998 and 2001, 20,000 Jewish Israelis per year left Israel in what has become known as ‘reverse Aliyah’.73 This is a problem for a country that has spent years investing in encouraging population movement towards Israel and thereby shifting the demographics in the region. There has been an evident push by organisations such as the Jewish Agency, as well as Israeli gap year companies which encourage students to ‘try out’ life in Israel for a couple of months, in order to counter the movement of peoples out of Israel.

Israel states that it is the sole protector of the Jewish people, arguing that it has a key role to play in saving them from oppression and ill-treatment. It states that as part of this duty of care for Jews across the world, Israel has a so-called ‘right of return’ (known as Aliyah). Practically this means that any Jew from across the world can immigrate to Israel as long as they can prove their maternal Jewish heritage.70 This is a unique and highly discriminatory system, whereby Jews are favoured over Palestinians. The great irony is, that countless Palestinians have been deposed of their homes and refused the right of return to land and properties which are legally owned by them, whilst simultaneously, Jews from across the globe are gifted with homes, jobs and properties in Jerusalem and beyond, often at the expense of Palestinians.

Conclusion Israel’s efforts to alter the city’s demographic nature contribute to its collective aim to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian population and establish it as the Jewish state’s united capital. Such actions are implemented in spite of continuous objections from the international community and without respect to Jerusalem’s categorization as a final-status issue within peace negotiations.

According to Susan Nathan, author of “The Other Side of Israel”, the Aliyah process has cemented and deepened hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians. In terms of land allocation, 94% of land in Israel is held by the Jewish National Fund71 (JNF) and the Arab Israelis (those who refused to leave their homes and property during the 1948 expulsion) who constitute 20% of the Israeli population, are pushed into ghettos. Of course this has affected the entire region, particularly East Jerusalem since a greater number of Israelis within Jerusalem, located on illegal settlements, would make the claim to East Jerusalem 25




Chapter Three: House Demolitions and Displacement Introduction More than 28,000 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza since 1967, leaving more than 160,000 Palestinians homeless.

900 Palestinians displaced and these residents were offered neither alternative housing nor compensation. The areas most at risk of demolition orders are the Jordan Valley, South Hebron Hills and East Jerusalem. In total more than 225,000 Palestinians live under the threat of forced displacement.74

The Palestinian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including illegally annexed East Jerusalem, continues to endure violence, displacement, dispossession and deprivation as a result of prolonged Israeli occupation, in violation of their rights under international law. Demolitions are a major cause of the destruction of property and displacement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In 2013, 550 structures were demolished leaving

This Chapter is contributed by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), is a human rights and peace organisation established in 1997. ICAHD has ECOSOC consultancy status at the UN and in bringing Israelis and Palestinians together, ICAHD has rebuilt 187 Palestinian homes as political acts of resistance, demonstrating that they refuse to be enemies and that they are partners for peace.

House Demolitions in Jerusalem Governorate (1967-2010) Source: Al-Maqdese for Society Development Year 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988

No. of Apartments 138 1 8 1 1 2 1 6 0 4 1 2 3 10 2 4 5 8 6 1 4 28

People Displaced 660 8 51 0 9 10 12 20 0 7 6 11 18 26 0 10 36 23 25 4 18 150

Year 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010


No. of Apartments 12 36 18 26 14 20 26 27 41 36 28 37 81 50 83 176 111 84 79 97 112 72

1,501 7,413 27

People Displaced 58 187 105 96 64 87 175 134 342 243 252 211 567 281 429 786 567 264 378 396 555 130


Israel’s Demolition Policy

Article 49 also stipulates against the forcible transfer of an occupied population: “Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”

The policy of house demolitions uses administration, planning, zoning and the law for overt political purposes to quietly transfer Palestinians out of the country or, alternatively, to confine them to small enclaves, thereby leaving (Palestinian) land free for Israeli settlement and annexation. Most people are under the impression that Palestinian houses are demolished because their inhabitants performed some terrorist acts or other similar reasons, however apart from 3% of the cases, the residents had absolutely nothing to do with security offenses.

Israel’s claim that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territory has been rejected by the international community, including the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Further, the Hague Convention of 1907 calls on state parties to respect, protect, and fulfil family honour and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practices. In November 2013, the Jerusalem Municipality issued 11 demolition orders. Each order can pertain to a number of separate buildings, and each building can be as high as 10 stories, housing dozens of families. Most of these orders were for buildings near the Shoafat refugee camp on the Palestinian side of the Separation Wall. Palestinians who live within the Municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but are excluded from the city due to the route of the wall are completely neglected by the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem.75 The international attention and diplomatic pressure against house demolitions means that in these cases, residents are hopeful that demolition will not take place.

The vacuum created by halting Palestinian construction is filled by Israel itself. Amidst the demolition of Palestinian homes, housing units have been built for the 630,000 Israeli Jews living across the 1967 border, including East Jerusalem. Meanwhile there is a shortage of 25,000 housing units for Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The Demolition Process The motivation for demolishing Palestinian homes is purely political, although it employs an elaborate system of planning laws and administrative procedures to lend it an acceptable facade. The goal is to confine the 3.6 million Palestinians of the Occupied Territories, together with the million Palestinian citizens of Israel, to small enclaves on approximately 12% of historic Palestine effectively controlling the entire country.

Israel’s systematic policy of house demolitions plays a key role in maintaining the Occupation and since the state was first formed, it has gone to the very heart of the conflict itself in demonstrating Israel’s approach to “the Arab problem”. The house demolition policy goes far beyond mere administrative and military means to contain or force out an entire population. Between 1947–1949, when the state of Israel was established, 530 Palestinian villages were demolished creating 750,000 Palestinian refugees. From then until the present day, this represents Israel’s policy of displacement, of one people dispossessing another, taking both their land and their right to self-determination. As the Occupying Power, Israel is obligated to safeguard the homes of the Palestinians under international humanitarian law, namely the Hague Regulations and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory. Article 53 prohibits destruction of property that is not justified by military necessity. 28


Either the Ministry of Interior or the Jerusalem municipality in East Jerusalem executes the demolitions for “administrative” reasons where a building permit was not obtained. Master plans and zoning regulations have been carefully drafted to limit the potential for Palestinian growth and building. Thus, the entire West Bank has been designated “agricultural land,” while most of the undeveloped land owned by Palestinians in East Jerusalem has been zoned as “open green space.” In both cases, building permits can easily be denied to Palestinians on the basis of planning regulations restricting use for lands classified as such.

Neimah Dandis, whose home in Anata was finally demolished in November 2004 after a wait of eight years, “consisted of getting out of bed, going to the window to see if the bulldozers were approaching, then going to the bathroom.” Whether the home is demolished or not, the psychological tensions often lead to stress-related health problems, domestic violence and trauma; all aggravated by poor living conditions and financial strain. The Israeli authorities know all this and even incorporate it into the “planning” process. ICAHD members have been told explicitly by legal officials in the Civil Administration that fear and intimidation are effective in deterring Palestinians from building.

Where Palestinians build homes without permits as a result of desperate need, these “illegal” buildings appear to be demolished by Israel based on ethnicity. The policy is explicit. “Our policy is not to approve building in Area C,” an Israeli Army spokesperson said openly to Amnesty International delegates in 1999. “There are no more construction permits for Palestinians,” reiterated Colonel Shlomo Politus, legal advisor to the Civil Administration, to the Israeli Parliament on 13 July 2003.76 Since Palestinians do not have home mail delivery in East Jerusalem, demolition orders are distributed in a very haphazard manner. Occasionally a building inspector may knock on the door and hand the order to anyone who answers, including small children. More frequently the order is stuck into the doorframe or even left under a stone near the house. On many occasions, Palestinians have complained that they never received the order before the bulldozers arrived, and thus were denied recourse to the courts. In Jerusalem, a favoured practice is to “deliver” an order at night by placing it somewhere near the targeted home, then arriving early in the morning to demolish it. If Palestinians do manage to reach the court in time, they may occasionally delay the order’s execution (at considerable expense). We are not aware of any order that has ever been overturned. Once it is affirmed, the bulldozers may arrive at any time – the same day, weeks or years later, or never. Palestinians, barred from any possibility of obtaining decent, affordable and legal housing, do a simple, cold arithmetic: thousands of demolition orders are outstanding, the various Israeli authorities destroy “only” 200-500 homes a year (military attacks and punitive demolitions aside), so if they build a home, the chances are that they may buy a year or two before the bulldozers arrive. As in a perverse reverse lottery, they may even “win” and escape demolition altogether.

When the dreaded day finally arrives, it does so almost without warning. Though families know their homes are targeted, actual demolitions are carried out at random, without pattern, and can strike anywhere and at any time. Randomization is part of the generalized fear that underlies the policy of “deterrence.” The wrecking crews, accompanied by tens of soldiers, police and Civil Administration officials, usually come in the night or early morning and in built up areas, the streets are cordoned off preventing neighbours from joining the family in resisting the demolition. The family may be given a few minutes to remove their belongings and then wrecking crews (often foreign guest workers) throw out the larger possessions before the bulldozers move in.

This gamble comes at a high emotional and financial cost. The anxiety families endure during the weeks, months and years of waiting for bulldozers to arrive is immeasurable. “My morning routine,” says 29


In addition to the emotional suffering of seeing their most personal belongings broken, ruined and thrown out in the rain, sun and dirt; demolitions constitute a serious financial blow, especially to the poor families who make up the vast majority of demolition victims. About 70% of Palestinians living in both Jerusalem and the West Bank/Gaza live below the poverty line. Families whose monthly income is around $500 are burdened by the Israeli courts with hefty fines in the range of $10-20,000, to be paid in monthly instalments whether the house is demolished or not. In Jerusalem, families must also pay for the demolition of their own homes; at the end of the demolition they are presented with the wrecking company’s bill, around $1500.

The Impact of Demolitions on Palestinian Families

Demolition is an experience different for men, women and children. Men are often the most humiliated, since demolition means you can neither protect your family nor provide for their basic shelter and needs. It also means losing a living connection to your ancestral land, your personal patrimony and that of your people. Men often cry at demolitions (and long after), but they are also angered, swear revenge and intend to build again (although some men withdraw emasculated from active family life). Since men usually have jobs and access to the world outside the home, they also have a certain outlet for their frustrations.

The human suffering entailed in the process of destroying a family’s home is incalculable. A home is not only a physical structure; it is the centre of our lives, the site of our most intimate personal life, an expression of our identity, tastes and social status. It is a refuge, a physical representation of the family, an extension of our very selves. It is “home”. For Palestinians, homes carry additional meanings. Upon marriage, sons construct their homes close to that of their parents, thus maintaining not only a physical closeness but continuity on one’s ancestral land. The latter aspect is especially important in the world of farmers, and even more so as Palestinians have faced massive displacement in the past half century. Land expropriation is another facet of home demolition, an attack on one’s very being and identity.

Demolitions alter, even destroy, a woman’s entire persona and role in the family. Palestinian women generally do not have careers outside the home. Their identity and status as wives, mothers and, indeed, persons is wrapped up in their domestic life. When their homes are demolished, women often become disoriented, unable to function without that organising domestic sphere. Some sink into a kind of mourning, although in some cases, especially if the husband has withdrawn, they take on more assertive roles in the family. Demolition represents a double tragedy for women. Not only do they lose their own domestic space, but they are forced to move into the homes of other women, their mothers- or sisters-inlaw. The overcrowding and tension this generates is exacerbated by the fact that the “guest” woman has little control over the domestic sphere, over the care of her own husband and children, further diminishing her role and status. In many cases this results in severe tensions within the families, including domestic violence spawned by the wife’s demands (even unspoken) for a home of her own, and the husband’s inability to provide it. Eventually families may move into their own rented quarters – another expense – or even rebuild their home, having no choice but to risk another demolition. Whatever the case, for many women, a demolished home, like a loved one, can never be replaced, and the wound never heals. 30


Conclusion Whilst every country has planning regulations, zoning and enforcement mechanisms, Israel is the only country which asserts Western democratic credentials while systematically denying permits and demolishes houses of a particular national group. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing” (Article 25.1). The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights “recognize[s] the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living...including adequate food, clothing, and housing” (Article 11.1). The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination obligates state parties “to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, color, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law..., in particular the right to housing” (Article 5). Moreover, the Fourth Geneva Convention requires occupying powers such as Israel to protect the well-being of civilian populations under their control. Under the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, Israel is required as an occupying power to protect and ensure the needs of the Palestinian population. Human rights organizations agree that Israel’s policy of house demolition may constitute a war crime. Given the massive scale and prolonged time period that the house demolition policy has characterized Israel’s relationship with the Palestinians on both sides of the “Green Line,” the bulldozer certainly deserves to take its rightful place alongside the tank.

For children, the act of demolition and the months and years leading up to it are a time of trauma. To witness the fear and powerlessness of your parents; to feel constantly afraid and insecure; to see loved ones being beaten and losing their homes; and to endure the noise, violence, displacement and destruction of your home, your world, your toys— these mark children for life. Psychological services are not sufficient in the Palestinian community and there are many signs of trauma and stress among children: bed-wetting, nightmares, dramatic drops in grades and dropping out of school, as well the effects of exposure to domestic violence that occasionally follows impoverishment, displacement and humiliation. In the words of Salim Shawamreh, a resident of the village of Anata whose home has been demolished six times: “The demolition of a home is the demolition of a family.” According to the research of Eyad Serraj, a Palestinian psychologist who heads the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, a strong correlation exists between young people who become suicide bombers and those who have had their homes demolished. 31




Chapter Four: The Disappearing Cultural Heritage Introduction

The urban planning of the city developed during the Mamluk era between 1250-1517, when greater attention was paid to erecting religious buildings and institutions, leaving their mark on the Palestinian architectural landscape. The Old City of Jerusalem in particular flourished with the building of schools, souks (markets) and roadside inns where travellers would stop to rest and eat.

“Since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, hundreds of Palestinian archaeological sites and cultural property have been systematically confiscated, looted and excavated by Israeli authorities, endangering Palestinian cultural heritage and denying Palestinians their cultural patrimony, as well as denying development and access to heritage sites and historic places of worship.” [UNESCO]77

Ottoman rule lasted between 1517-1917 and it was during this period that more villages began to emerge and the population density in the area grew. Following so many centuries of cultural richness, it was the British Mandate of Palestine subsequent to the Ottoman decline and the declaration of the state of Israel following the Arab-Israeli war; that Palestinians began to see the full-scale destruction of their cultural heritage. Israel’s attempt to acquire greater swathes of Palestinian land and exert political, cultural and historical legitimacy, led to a concerted systematic effort by Israel to assert a dominant culture and claim to the land.

Palestine has a rich and vibrant history and is the hub of the three monotheistic faiths. The Old City of Jerusalem in particular is a place of immense significance and is home to churches, mosques and synagogues and has been listed as a World Heritage List site since 1982. It is also on the List of World Heritage in Danger. In recent years, Israel has heightened its involvement in the Old City in a subtle attempt to assert religious and cultural sovereignty over the land to consolidate its claim. The resultant drilling and excavations, which Israel states is purely for the purpose of archaeological research, had led to damage on heritage sites within the holy al-Aqsa Compound. If such digs continues with the same intensity, the Palestinian cultural heritage of the city faces great threat of being lost to the confines of the history books.

Sites of Significance in the Old City of Jerusalem The Old City contains within it sites of profound historical, religious and cultural significance for Palestinians.

This chapter seeks to highlight the religious and historical significance of the Old City to Muslims and Christians, detailing the advances that have been made by Israeli authorities upon sites of cultural heritage. The question of access to religious sites for Muslims and Christians will also be considered, and finally we conclude with a discussion on aspects of Palestinian cultural heritage that have been undermined, endangered or eliminated.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre falls within the Old City and is believed to mark where Jesus was laid to rest in his tomb, as well as marking the location of the crucifixion. It therefore carries immense religious significance for Christians and is a venerated site. However, it too has been subject to Israeli encroachment. One such example was the 2010 water predicament when Israel threatened to cut of water supplies to the Church.

Historical Background78 The story of this historic land is a fascinating one, shaped and influenced by the countless cultures and civilisations that have passed through including the Greeks, Romans and Canaanites. The churches of Burqin and Abud , date back to the 4th century when they arose under the Eastern Roman Empire. It was the early Umayyad period from 661-750 that was known for its grandeur and high standard of living. Gardens, baths, mosques and courtyards, embellished with intricate patterns all point to the Umayyad era when Islamic architecture was developing. 33


Map of Old City

The al-Aqsa Sanctuary has been under the care and ownership of the Islamic Waqf Authorities for several centuries and this is recognised by the international community. By neglecting the Palestinian claim to the land and ignoring calls from persecuted Christian and Muslim groups in the area, Israel continues to behave irresponsibly, causing greater damage and destruction to heritage sites as it attempts to shift the dynamics in the region in its favour. Below is a timeline of events highlighting the growing danger upon Palestinian heritage sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Timeline of Threats against Significant Sites The Book Theft, 1948: Following the forced eviction of Palestinians from their lands during the Nakba, Israeli forces entered Palestinian homes and looted belongings of historical, religious and cultural significance. This included a great number of books, artwork, manuscripts and photographs. The books were seized and kept in Israeli libraries. Al-Aqsa fire, August 1969: Evangelical Christian Zionist Denis Michael Rohan set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque, believing that burning the mosque would pave the way for the re-building of the Jewish temple on Temple Mount. During the fire, Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian fire-fighters from tackling the blaze until irreversible damage was done. The centuries old mimbar of Nur-ad-Din was destroyed by the fire.

Significantly for Muslims, the Old City is also the site of the al-Aqsa Sanctuary. The complex is home to the world-renowned Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque which Muslims the world over travel to visit, second only to the two holy sites of annual pilgrimage in Makkah and Medina. Many of the Prophets of Islam and of the three Abrahamic faiths– such as Abraham, Moses, David, Zacharias and Soloman, were believed to have lived and taught in Jerusalem and therefore the Old City is a place of great historical and religious significance for Muslims.

Museum of Tolerance, 2005: The Simon Weisenthal Centre announced that a ‘Museum of Tolerance’ is to be built upon the ancient Mamilla Cemetery in the Old City. Many significant Muslim scholars were laid to rest in the cemetery and the move to level the plain for a ‘tolerance museum’ was met with widespread frustration. Muslim Quarter Quarry, February 2007: The Israeli Government hands over a new project to “restore” a 3000-year-old quarry running under the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. Excavation work also began near the al-Buraq Wall, involving the destruction of a historic pedestrian bridge connecting the Magharibah Quarter to the Mughrabi Gate. Wailing Wall Extension, January 2008: Ha’aretz reported that the Jerusalem Planning and Construction Committee approved the expansion of the women’s section of the Wailing Wall bordering the Magharibah Gate. This required further demolitions to historic sites. Silwan Street Names, 2008: The Jerusalem Municipality began to replace Arabic names in Silwan with 34


Jewish ones. The Israel Antiques Authority also began erecting a new tunnel underneath the Muslim Quarter in the Old City.

aggressions against Palestinian cultural and historical heritage. Knesset Threatens Palestinian Sovereignty over al-Aqsa, November 2013: the Knesset began an inflammatory discussion on whether Israelis should be allowed to enter the al-Aqsa sanctuary for prayer, despite the area being under Palestinian jurisdiction. The response was widespread anger as Israel attempts to assert itself within territory that it has no right to.

Tunnelling under al-Aqsa, March 2008: The Times reported that Jewish settler groups were digging an extensive tunnel network under Muslim areas of the Old City while building a ring of settlements around it to bolster their claim to the city in any future peace deal. The tunnels are largely based on historical water wells or buried pilgrim routes, stretching from the Pool of Siloam in Silwan to the south and joining up with the Western Wall.

Israel Responds: A Year of National Heritage79

Collapses in al-Aqsa Grounds, April 2008: The ongoing excavations have undermined the foundations of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City and of the al-Aqsa complex itself. Part of the floor collapse and a hole appeared in the Al-Aqsa grounds. The house of Abdul Raziq Asileh near the Old City’s Dung Gate was partly destroyed along with a yard due to Israeli excavation work underneath it. A Further collapse occurred outside the Western Wall in 2013.

“A people must know its past to ensure its future.”80 [Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, 2010] Israel announced in early 2013 that it is to launch a year of national heritage to coincide with its so-called ‘independence day’ in an effort to assert its authority and historical claim over parts of Israel and the West Bank. The scheme which has been seen as an attempt to create an Israeli national history is a fiveyear program which includes the construction of a new multi-million dollar visitors’ centre.

The Tomb of the Patriarch and Rachel’s Tomb, March 2010: Israel tries to claim new territories by declaring that the Tomb of the Patriarch’s Mosque in Hebron and the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque (Rachel’s Tomb) in Bethlehem are Israeli National Heritage sites. UNESCO criticises Israel for attempting to erase Palestinian history , saying that the sites are Palestinian cultural treasures.

Director of the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Hamdan Taha states, “The West Bank is an integral part of the history of Palestine. Netanyahu’s heritage plan is an aggression against the cultural right of Palestinian people in their own state.”81

Magharibah Gate, February 2013: Further Israeli building work undertaken at the Magharibah Gate bridge in the Old City, aiming to replace it with a wider steel bridge. Palestinians are cautious of such Israeli building works in the Old City and state that Israel is disrupting the character of the city and destroying its heritage.

Mr Taha has criticised Israel’s over-emphasis on Jewish heritage and total disregard of the deeplyentrenched Palestinian history and heritage in the area as “an ideological misuse of archaeological evidence”. He further stated, “Jewish heritage in the West Bank - like Christian or Islamic - is part of Palestinian heritage and we reject categorically any ethnic division of culture.”

Al-Aqsa Stormed by Settlers, 2013: Settler incursions and trespasses within the al-Aqsa Compound have steadily increased. Settlers stormed the area on the Nakba anniversary. The centrality of the mosque to Muslim Palestinians was reiterated when 80,000 Muslim worshippers gather outside al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday of Ramadan.

Dr Yitzhak Reiter, an expert in conflict resolution at sacred sites explains the significance of a state seeking to invest in restoration of certain archaeological sites: “If you invest money in developing and renovating a place, it looks like you have some intenDuring settler incursion, Muslim worshippers inside tion in the future to claim it, and this is a very delicate the mosque faced violence and threats. Worshippers issue.” were harmed by Israeli forces firing tear gas canisters. Several suffered from gas inhalation. Worshippers Altering Street Names, were pushed to the ground and beaten with batons, after they gathered in the mosque to protest against Changing the Past the incursions. Thus, the illegal settlers are effectively Al Nu’man is a small Palestinian village consistprotected by the police during these trespasses. ing of around 25 houses, situated in the JerusaUNESCO Condemnation, October 2013: UNESCO lem municipal boundary. It was heavily affected by condemns Israeli advances and the Executive Board Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem in 1967. adopted six decisions strongly condemning the Israeli In the same year, a census was held of the area, but 35


the residents of al Nu’man were excluded from the census, such that today the residents of al Nu’man are accused of residing illegally in Jerusalem whilst in their own homes.

The 1948 Nakba marks the point when over 700,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes by Zionist militias. What is little known about this terrible episode of history, is that during the forced eviction, the Haganah which later became the Israeli military, plundered homes of their manuscripts, photographs, books and works of art – resulting in the systematic looting of over 60,000 books84 and an attempt to erase Palestinian culture. Families left their belongings as they fled, believing that they would return to them. Librarians from the Jewish National Library and the Hebrew University library were called upon to collect the most prized possessions from these families’ homes – books.

To make matters worse, Israel now denies the existence of any Palestinian village with the name al Nu’man. No signposts with the name al Nu’man exist, but rather the Israeli name for the area ‘Mizmoriy’, is used. Residents have reported that Israeli border police have refused entry to villagers, saying that there is no such thing as al Nu’man.82 The denial of Palestinian heritage by deliberately changing street names from their original Arabic names to Hebrew names has intensified in recent years. The financial committee of the Jerusalem Municipality allocated a $255,000 budget for the project to change the Arabic Street names in East Jerusalem. By replacing Arabic names with Hebrew ones, Israel creates a sense of legitimacy to its claims over East Jerusalem.

An Israeli graduate student conducting research in this area of the Israeli book theft, states: “[I realised] that there was a story to tell. A story that hasn’t yet been told and one that might enrich our knowledge about the Palestinian culture and its erasure. Although many Palestinian families were aware that their books were taken during the aftermath of 1948, they had no idea that there was a systematic and conscious effort to appropriate their books.”85

Other changes include to the names of villages and neighbourhoods. The Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan was renamed ‘The City of David’; Al-Bustan is now called ‘the Park of the King’; Wadi Rababa is ‘the Valley of Ben Hinoum’; and Al-Thouri is ‘Giva’t Hannanyah’. Wadi Hilweh’s main street has also been renamed to ‘Ma’lout Ir David’; Cemetary Street is now ‘Ofel’; Al-Mister Street is ‘Malki Tsadik’; Dung Gate Hill is ‘Malout Hashaloum’; and Wadi Hilweh Park is ‘Givate Park’, in reference to the Givate unit of the Israeli Military Forces.83

The books were then “loaned” to the libraries where they remain until now, under the code of ‘AP’ – Abandoned Property. Some were sold on as paper waste due to containing material which was thought to be “inciting material against the State [Israel]”. Over time, the books began to lose all trace of their Palestinians ownership.

Palestinian residents in the city are denied any consultation in the name change process and any objections are ignored, thus they are powerless to stop the Israeli policies which rob them of their cultural heritage in the area.

Palestinian activist and author Ghadi Karmi explains, “What’s really horrible about the book thefts is that it’s like saying, ‘I’m not only going to steal your home and your land but also an intellectual heritage because they took these books, put in them in their Israeli libraries and then pretended that they were always there. Therefore we’re in a fight because we’re not just trying to reclaim something which has been sitting there gathering dust — we’re trying to reclaim something before it’s destroyed.”

Cultural and Intellectual Robbery

The Israeli book theft demonstrates that Israel’s attempt to erase Palestinian history and culture was a systematic process that began from as early on as the 1948 Nakba.

Efforts to Preserve Palestinian Heritage The Palestinian Department of Archaeology in collaboration with international donor support has begun the process of seeking to protect heritage sites in the Old City from Israeli advances.



damage to Palestinian heritage sites. A UNESCO protocol dated to 1999 prohibits any archaeological excavation that is not carried out for essential survey or salvage work, but Israel is not signatory to the agreement.90 Instead, it uses excavations under the guise of archaeological exploration to encroach deeper into Palestinian territory and damage PalesHowever, there is still a huge problem of access. tinian heritage sites, thereby erasing the history of a Throughout 2013, there have been numerous people. incidences where Muslims were prevented from The history of the Palestinian territories is one observing religious prayers in the al-Aqsa sanctuary. Furthermore, extremist Israeli settlers have that spans across several cultures, civilisations and trespassed into the sanctuary with police chaperones peoples. However, the Israeli authorities are attemptdespite prohibitions of entry. On some occasions, ing to assign an exclusive Jewish character to the worshippers have been forced to pray outside due to city and erase any Palestinian connection to the sacred land, despite its deep-rooted connection. This issues of access. ‘cultural hegemony’ according to UNESCO is being In an act of solidarity and support for their Muslim used as a political tool to deepen Israeli control and brothers and sisters, a delegation of Christian leaders defend continued settlement activity. and representatives from different churches, visited UNESCO has appealed to Israel to take note of the al Aqsa sanctuary in September 2013, and its obligations as an occupying power and to recogextended their support to the Muslim community. nise that ‘confiscation and developments of PalestinAmong the delegation were: Bishop William ian heritage sites and cultural property by Israel is Shomali, Patriarchal Vicar of Jerusalem; Anglican prohibited under customary international law’.91 Bishop Suheil Dawani; and the Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarch of Jerusalem Joseph Kelekian. Conclusion Collectively, the delegation expressed their wish to continue to work with their Muslim neighbours, to It is evident that Israeli efforts to claim greater continue to live and coexist peacefully as they have swathes of Palestinian land show no signs of abating. done for many years.86 Whilst a large focus of this is often through the physical appropriation of land via settlement building Legal Implications87 and the construction of the Wall, an often forgotten aspect is the cultural battle that continues to wage “The Israeli Cabinet’s unilateral decision to on. Jerusalem, and the Old City in particular has a continue with their consolidation of Palestinian herit- rich and vibrant history and both Muslim and Chrisage and archaeological sites under Israeli control tian groups within the area are doing all that they can reinforces Palestinian concerns that there is currently to hold on to their cultural heritage. Israel however no genuine partner for peace, but an occupying continues to use all means possible to exert a form of power intent on its illegal confiscation of Palestinian cultural hegemony over Jerusalem, claiming sites as territory and resources.” [UNESCO]88 its own, disregarding sites of important to the Muslim and Christian faith, and engaging in excavation and Early October 2013 marked an historic move by building work which has already led to damages to the United Nationals Educational, Social and Cultural many of the heritage sites within the Old City. Organisation (UNESCO). As mentioned previously, they issued six decisions condemning Israel for their Despite criticism from UN bodies such as UNESCO, aggressions on Palestinian culture and heritage in who continually call upon Israel to respect the Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Gaza. cultural heritage of the city rather than use sites as a tool of occupation, Israel continues to encroach into The organisation expressed their deep concern Palestinian culture and heritage. over continuing Israeli excavations in the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls. The concerns have further Israel clearly understands that the history of any deepened after Israel refused to allow a delegation nation is instrumental in ensuring its future, and this of UNESCO experts to visit the violated heritage sites is clear from comments made by Israeli Prime Minisin occupied Jerusalem.89 ter Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel is therefore engaged in a process of denying the history of the Palestinian Israel claims that its work in the area consti- people in order to create a new story of Israeli history tutes archaeological exploration, however Palestin- and national identity, and as a result, the heritage, ian groups dispute this to be the primary intention history, and culture of the Palestinian people remains behind Israeli excavations, which have already caused under threat. A project spanning from 1998 to 2001 seeking to protect the cultural and historical landscape of Palestine, included in their list of protected sites, mosques, churches, monasteries and sanctuaries such as the ancient churches of Burqin and Abud, dating back to the Byzantine period.





Conclusion This report outlines the immense hardships faced by Palestinian citizens in East Jerusalem as a direct result of Israeli policies and governance over the city. The need to protect the rights of these citizens has been a pressing issue for a number of years and only international attention and intervention can prevent further damage to the Palestinian Christian and Muslim cultural heritage within the city. The hardships faced by families who are denied the right to live together due to complicated and convoluted citizenship rights and permit cards, has left many broken families in its wake. Further, those who were lucky enough to remain in their city of birth and heritage, face insurmountable obstacles in building adequate homes to accommodate growing families. The theft of Palestinian culture was witnessed when the occupation commenced in 1967 with the removal of books and historically significant possessions from the homes of Palestinians who fled the fighting and were prevented from return. These articles are now displayed within Israeli libraries and museums as a statement about Israeli history, effectively denying their Palestinian origin. The further renaming of towns, villages and streets is erasing centuries of history in a bid to legitimise Israeli control of the city. With the confiscation of 35 per cent of Palestinian land for the building of illegal settlements while simultaneously, denying Palestinians any right to expand beyond the 12 per cent of land that was developed in 1967; the level of discrimination being faced is immense. Despite the lack of services being provided by the state to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, they are still expected to pay the same taxes as Israelis in the city. This is an unacceptable position for a state modelling itself on Western democracies.

The situation in Jerusalem has reached at a crisis point and there is now an urgent need for action, and Britain should play its role by: 1. Demanding that a UNESCO team be allowed to investigate the world heritage sites in Jerusalem in order to determine the level of threat being faced by them and make appropriate recommendations. This will ensure that international attention is given to the issues arising. 2. Pressuring Israel to grant Palestinians in Jerusalem with their rights to build and develop their land to accommodate growing families, and provide services equitable with those provided to Jewish neighbourhoods.

Israeli claims to a unified Jerusalem which encompasses the Palestinian East-Jerusalem is rejected by the international community, opposes international law and hinders the possibility for peace talks to be conducted and concluded. The irreversible facts being created on the ground by Israel mean that Palestinian claims to their city are being deliberately undermined so that these claims can eventually be easily diminished and dismissed. This is a momentous crime which the global community is silently observing.

3. Pressuring Israel to allow unhindered access by Palestinians to places of worship and places of cultural and historic significance in the city. 4. Demanding that discriminatory policies such as restrictive citizenship rights are amended in light of international conventions, and families are allowed unification. 5. Overtly rejecting Israeli claims that East Jerusalem is part of a greater Jerusalem to which Israel has sovereignty.

In conclusion, since 1967, Israel has attempted to alter the status of East Jerusalem by claiming it as a part of Israel and declaring it as its capital and denying Palestinians who reside in the city basic rights. The lack of foreign embassies in the city reflects the international rejection of such claims.

6. Bringing pressure on Israel to abide by International Law, UN Resolutions and the Geneva Conventions whenever they are breached. 39


Endnotes UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/2253 (ES-V), 4 July 1967 Adler, K ‘Archaeology and the Struggle for Jerusalem’, BBC News online, hi/8480304.stm 3 ‘The Israeli Plans in Jerusalem’, Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem 4 Rothchilds, A ‘The Judaization of East Jerusalem’, Salt Lake Tribune, 24 November 2007 5 Weiss, E. ‘Settlers’ birth rate three times higher than other Israelis’, Ynet News, 21 February 2007 6 ‘Israeli West Bank Settlers increase by 4.7 percent in 2012’ AFP, 13 February 2013 7 Statistics provided by the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem. 8 Available at < nt> (Accessed 25 August 2013). 9 Eisenbud, D. (2013) Jerusalem Tourism Summit draws industry leaders. Jerusalem Post, [online] 5 August. Available at <> [Accessed on 15 August 2013] 10 CBS 2012 11 Margalit, M.(2006) Discrimination in the Heart of the Holy City Jerusalem. The International Peace and Cooperation Center 12 Mahler, G.S. and Mahler, A.R.W. (2009) The Arab-Israeli Conflict: An Introduction and Documentary Reader. New York: Routledge 13 Shragai, N. (2010) Demography, Geopolitics and the Future of Israel’s Capital: Jerusalem’s Proposed Master Plan. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 14 Report No.4 15 Jerusalem Municipality, 2004, Local Outline Plan Jerusalem 2000. Translation: <> [Accessed 27 July 2013] 16 Barkat, N. (2010) The Mayor’s Vision for Jerusalem. Jerusalem Issue Briefs- Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Available at [Accessed on 24 August 2013] 17 Summary of Objections to the Jerusalem Regional Master Plan, November 2008. Produced by Adalah. 18 Adalah Press Release, 13 September 2012, available at (Last visited 17 January 2014) 19 Since 1967, 35% of East Jerusalem has been seized by the Isreali municipality (B’Tselem 1995). 20 UNCTAD (2013), The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring Annexation, Isolation and Disintegration. April (UNCTAD/GDS/APP/2012/1). 21 B’Tselem (1995), A Policy of Discrimination: Land Expropriation, Planning and Building in East Jerusalem. 22 UNCTAD 2013 23 Jerusalem Municipality, 2004 24 PASSIA 2011 25 Chiodelli, F. 2012. Re-shaping Jerusalem: The Transformation of Jerusalem’s metropolitan area by the Israeli Barrier. Cities, 31, 417- 424. 26 Thawaba, S. and Al-Rimmawi, H. (2012), ‘Spatial Transformation of Jerusalem: 1967 to Present’, Journal of Planning History, 12:1 63- 77. 27 Allegra, M. (2012), ‘The Politics of Suburbia: Israel’s settlement Policy and the Production of Space in the Metropolitan area of Jerusalem’, Environment and Planning A, 45, 497- 516. 28 Jerusalem Municipality, 2004 29 PASSIA 2011 30 Ciodelli, F. 2011. Planning Illegality: The Roots of Unauthorised Housing in Arab East Jerusalem. Cities, 29, 99- 106. 31 Chiodelli (2011) 32 Thawaba and Al-Rimmawi (2012) 33 Chiodelli (2011) 34 Ir Amim, (2009) A Layman’s Guide to Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem. Jerusalem: Ir Amim 35 Chiodelli (2011) 36 Chiodelli (2011) 37 Chiodelli (2011) 38 Dolphin, R. (2006), The West Bank Wall: Unmasking Palestine. London: Pluto Press 39 Chiodelli (2012) and Dolphin (2006) 40 OCHA 2011 and UNCTAD 2013 1 2



‘Israeli Checkpoints and their Impact on Daily Life’, If Americans Knew, available online at: http://www. (last visited 17 January 2014) 42 Deger, A. ‘Jerusalem’s system of checkpoints inside Palestinian neighbourhoods of the holy city’, Mondoweiss, 18 October 2013. 43 U.N. Security Council, “Resolution 252 (1968)” (S/RES/476). 21 May 1968. Official Record. “All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel…which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.” 44 Henceforth, “Jerusalemites” will refer to Palestinians with direct familial ties to Jerusalem, including those not currently considered legal residents under Israeli law. 45 United Nations. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The Palestinian Economy in East Jerusalem: Enduring Annexation, Isolation and Disintegration. 8 May 2013. Print. 46 Jefferis, Danielle C. “Institutionalizing Statelessness: The Revocation of Residency Rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.” International Journal of Refugee Law 24.2 (2012): 202-30. Oxford Journals. Web. <http://>. 47 Ibid. 48 Palestinian Liberation Organization. Negotiations Affairs Department. Israeli Policies and Practices in Occupied East Jerusalem. May 2013. Web. <>. 49 Israel. Jerusalem Municipality. City Planning Department. Local Outline Plan: Jerusalem 2004. 50 Ibid 3. 51 Ibid 3. 52 Ibid 4. 53 Ibid 4. 54 Nuseibah, Munir. “Decades of Displacing Palestinians: How Israel Does It”. Al Shabaka. 18 June 2013. 55 Hamoked. Israel Continues Its “Quiet Deportation” Policy: In 2012, the Ministry of Interior Revoked the Residency Status of 116 Palestinians from East Jerusalem. 28 April 2013. 56 Ibid 3. 57 “Statistics on demolition of houses built without permits in East Jerusalem”. Btselem. 17 June 2013. 58 Ibid 3. 59 United Nations. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - occupied Palestinian territory. Residency Rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. 23 March 2011. Print. 60 Ibid 14. 61 Rashid, Siham. “The situation of youth and women in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”. United Nations International Meeting on the Question of Palestine. UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. 30-31 May 2012. 62 Ibid 14. 63 Ibid 14. 64 Tabar, Natalie. The Jerusalem Trap: The Looming Threat Posed by Israel’s Annexationist Policies in Occupied East Jerusalem. Ramallah: Al-Haq, 2010. 65 Ibid 19. 66 Ibid 4. 67 Foreign & Commonwealth Office. “Middle East Peace Process”. The National Archives of the UK (TNA). 6 February 2008. < Front%3Fpagename=OOpenMarke/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=1057335917798>. 68 This sub-section was not a part of the original article submitted by the Coalition for Jerusalem and is being added for relevance. 69 ‘The History of the Jewish Agency of Israel’, available online About/History/ (Last accessed 20 January 2014) 70 Handmaker, J. And Nieuwhof, A. ‘Voting with their feet’, Electronic Itifada, 9 May 20015 71 Groag, S. ‘Racism in Israel’, Electronic Intifada, 18 December 2005 72 Sheva, A. ‘Jerusalem hosts “Mega Aliyah Event”’, Israel National News, 2 August 2013 73 Handmaker (n70) 74 Within Israel Arab citizens also experience demolitions and displacement. The entire Bedouin community of al-Araqib, for example, has been demolished more than 50 times. On 24 June 2013, the Israeli Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin Bill for the mass expulsion of the Arab Bedouin community in the Negev desert in the south of Israel. If fully implemented, the Bill will result in the destruction of 35 “unrecognized” Arab Bedouin villages, the forced displacement of up to 70,000 Arab Bedouin citizens of Israel, and the dispossession of their historical lands in the Negev. 75 Hasson, N. ‘Jerusalem orders demolition of apartment buildings in Arab neighbourhood’, Haaretz, 4 November 2013 76 Amnesty 2004 41



UNESCO, (March 2010), ‘The two Palestinian Sites of al Haram al Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in al Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem’, UNESCO Explanatory Note. Last accessed 20/01/14: hash.JlrWD4bS.dpuf 78 Berg, R. (16/04/13), ‘Israel heritage plan exposes discord over West Bank history’, BBC News [online]. Last accessed 20/01/14: 79 80 Prime Ministers Office, (2010). PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Herzliya Conference. Last accessed 20/01/14: 81 Berg (n79) 82 Al Haq, (2012), ‘Visiting a Ghost Town: Drawing attention to the Plight of an Nu’man village’ Al Haq NGO, Ramallah, West Bank. Last accessed 20/01/14: 83 ‘Arabic place names erased in Municipality’s campaign to Hebrew-ize Jerusalem’, 24 December 2011 84 Aburawa, A. (2010), ‘The Great Book Robbery of 1948’, Electronic Intifada. Last accessed 20/01/14: http:// 85 Abunimah, A. (2012), ‘The Great Book Robbery: Israel’s 1948 looting of Palestine’s cultural heritage’, Electronic Intifada. Last accessed 20/01/14: 86 ICN, (2013). ‘Jerusalem: Christian leaders in to visit al Aqsa mosque’, Independent Catholic News [online]. Last accessed 20/01/14: 87 Fanack (n81) 88 UNESCO (n77) 89 MEMO, (2013). ‘UNESCO condems Israel’s violation of Palestinian cultural heritage’, Middle East Monitor [online]. Last accessed 20/01/14: 90 Berg (n79) 91 Fanack (n81) 77


Profile for Friends of Al Aqsa

Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem  

Friends of Al-Aqsa Report 2014

Protecting Palestinian Citizenship Rights in East Jerusalem  

Friends of Al-Aqsa Report 2014