East Jerusalem – A Socioeconomic Disaster:

<p>The National Insurance Institute and the Employment Bureau serve a government policy to push Palestinians beyond the wall and “enhance Israeli sovereignty”</p>
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The National Insurance Institute and the Employment Bureau serve a government policy to push Palestinians beyond the wall and “enhance Israeli sovereignty”

The report in PDF

Participated in the writing of this report: Aya Bartenstein Adv, Erez Wagner.

Preface

In occupied East Jerusalem (EJ) reside 300,200 Palestinians, 37% of Jerusalem’s population. Of them, 77% are beneath the poverty line (according to figures of Israel’s National Insurance Institute). The Separation Barrier (SB), which runs through EJ, cuts whole neighborhoods off from municipal services. On the side of the SB that does get services, there is a severe housing shortage, and on the side that doesn’t, construction is wild and unsupervised. This reality has brought the outside-SB neighborhoods to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. An earthquake could take down the many high-rises built in Shuafat Refugee Camp and Kafr ‘Aqab. The water crisis there, because of inadequate infrastructure, is likely to worsen. Another incident of nationalistic violence could ignite the streets, as happened in July. All factors point to disaster.

This situation is not accidental. It is rather the outcome of a declared government policy to push the Palestinian Jerusalemites beyond the borders of the neighborhoods that Israel annexed in 1967.

This report surveys this policy and some of its implementations. After dealing with the policy in general, it focuses on the ways in which the National Insurance Institute (NII, in Hebrew called Bituach Leumi) and the Employment Bureau (EB) blatantly disregard the economic deterioration of EJ Palestinians.

The report assembles many sources of data, using publications of the State of Israel as well as data collected throughout the past year by the Workers Advice Center (WAC-MAAN, hereafter WAC). The latter includes data arising from many complaints against the institutions charged with laying out the social safety net, especially the EB and the NII.

A WAC branch has been operating in occupied EJ since the year 2000 in unionization, providing legal aid, and helping Palestinians achieve their rights over against Israeli employers, the NII, and the EB. WAC follows the socioeconomic processes in EJ, informed by a concern from the residents’ well-being and with an understanding that these are processes affected by the diplomatic and political situation.

1. Government policy

1.1. Preserving a Jewish majority in Jerusalem: the Master Plan “Jerusalem 2000” and the creation of the housing crisis in EJ.

Ever since the occupation and annexation of EJ in 1967, Israel has struggled to keep the city united and Jewish. Already in the Master Plan of 1968 it was recommended to spur Jewish population growth significantly. In 1973, the then Prime Minister, Golda Meir, created the Gafni Commission to oversee the rate of development in Jerusalem. The Commission recommended that the Jewish population of the city be increased 3.7% by 1982, in order to keep the ratio of Jews and Arabs there the same as what it was in 1972, namely, 73.5% Jewish and 25.5% Arab. The Commission thus established a demographic goal that became a government decision, which has been reconfirmed by subsequent Israeli governments.

In 2007, the local Council for Planning and Construction in the City of Jerusalem approved the Master Plan known as “Jerusalem 2000.” In a stroke of realism, given the increase in the city’s Palestinian population, the Plan revised the earlier goal: the balance now sought for was to be 70% Jewish and 30% Arab. (As said above, the Arab proportion is now in fact 37%.) The Plan foresaw that the EJ Palestinians would require 34,000 new housing units by the year 2030. However, because of the demographic goal, it was decided to approve only 10,000 units by 2030.

“Jerusalem 2000” has not yet gone into effect, partly out of concern for its political repercussions. However, Ir Amim, a non-profit association, reports that already in 2013 a housing shortage of 10,000 units has been registered for the EJ Palestinians, and this shortage is expected to increase by 1500 units per year. This huge shortage has caused a dramatic rise in EJ housing prices, which fewer and fewer Palestinians can afford.

1.2. The Separation Barrier (SB)

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Map of Greater Jerusalem by Ir Amim. The red line marks the Separation Barrier (SB). The blue line is the municipal border.

Israel erected the SB from 2003–2006. It cuts through the Palestinian neighborhoods that Israel annexed in 1967. The SB here consists mainly of a concrete wall 8 meters high. The Palestinian neighborhoods Kafr ‘Aqab, Samir Amis, the Shuafat Refugee Camp, and new Anata are cut off by it from the urban contiguity of Jerusalem. As of 2006, these discarded neighborhoods held 60,000 Palestinians, and the number has grown considerably since then.

Despite the fact that the outside-SB neighborhoods are officially within Jerusalem’s boundaries, the Municipality refuses to supply them with basic services, such as emergency services, sanitation, welfare, and maintenance of the water- and electricity-infrastructures. For this lack it makes various excuses, such as the difficulty of crossing the SB, and in particular the claim that these neighborhoods contain another kind of infrastructure: terror.

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Wild, unsupervised construction beyond the Separation Barrier (SB) in Kafr ‘Aqab. Note SB wall. Photo from a tour by Ir Amim and WAC, May, 11, 2014

In the outside-SB Neighbor- hoods, the Municipality maintains no supervision whatsoever over construction, and so a door is opened to speculators and Palestinian contractors. They exploit the housing shortage that persists in the main part of EJ, inside the SB, and the lack of it outside the SB, in order to build high-rises, sometimes reaching 14 stories, without supervision and without the necessary infrastructure. These buildings can easily become death traps in fire or earthquake.

The water crisis in the outside-SB neighborhoods epitomizes the situation. The residents have long complained about extremely low water pressure or even no water at all for days at a stretch. The Israeli non-profit Association for Civil Rights petitioned the High Court on this issue; the municipal water company Ha-Gihon responded that the water infrastructure in the Shuafat camp is meant to serve 15,000 people, but between 60,000 and 80,000 live there, most of them in high-rises built without permits and connected illegally to the water infrastructure. When Palestinians in these neighborhoods seek to connect legally to the water supply (for they need to show receipts at the NII in order to maintain their status as Jerusalem residents), they are told that the water company cannot connect to a building constructed illegally. In this way the water company, like the Municipality, cynically uses the lack of supervision and the results thereof as an additional excuse for their refusal to build the necessary infrastructures.

1.3. A new government program for Jerusalem

On 29 June, 2014, just before a round of violence ignited the Palestinian neighborhoods, the Israeli government launched the “Program to Increase Personal Safety and Socioeconomic Development in Jerusalem for the Benefit of all Inhabitants,” costing 295 million NIS, to be spread over five years.

The program title is Orwellian. In practice, it does not address development, and it is not for the benefit of all inhabitants. An examination of the details reveals the true aims behind this whitewashing language, which are declared outright in the statement of the program’s focus: “Strengthening Israeli sovereignty in the territories of East Jerusalem.”

We get another indication of the program’s real aims when we look at the parties responsible for its implementation: The responsible government ministry is the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, headed by Naftali Bennett, chairman of the right-wing party “Ha Ba’it Hayehudi” (“The Jewish Home”), which was elected to the Knesset on the basis of a proposal to annex the entire West Bank to Israel. Appointed to implement the municipal program is Mr. Dvir Kahane, former chairman of Elad, an association promoting the Judaization of Jerusalem through Jewish settlement in Palestinian neighborhoods.

Another sign of the program’s aim is its budget allocation. Out of the total 295 million NIS, the amount of 95 million NIS will go to ‘increasing criminal enforcement efforts,’ which translates into ‘strengthening enforcement for stone-throwing infractions.’ Not a single shekel will be used to stop the rise in Jewish nationalist hate crimes, such as the recent murder of the Palestinian teenager Muhammed Abu Khdeir. Nor will a shekel go to stemming other forms of delinquent criminality washing over the area.

The government claimed to recognize the fact that in order to eliminate stone-throwing, it would have to invest in the development of EJ. The rest of the budget – 200 million NIS – is supposedly earmarked for this. Of the amount, 100 million NIS has been allotted to infrastructure. But this amount includes street lighting around sites holy to Jews, security cameras on the streets, a better appearance, and cosmetic improvements that do nothing to improve the harsh circumstances of EJ’s Palestinians.

An Ir Amim report [Hebrew] shows clearly that the new program focuses on reinforcing Israeli elements in EJ. In education, for example—contrary to the Oslo Accords as well as international law—the program seeks to direct Palestinian secondary school pupils into taking Israel’s matriculation exams rather than the Palestinian equivalent. It does nothing to address the shortage of hundreds of classrooms in EJ (as determined by the Israeli courts).

On the issue of employment, the development part of the budget allocates 47 million NIS. This is a pittance. If the government would take on the task of raising the percentage of Palestinian women participating in the EJ labor market, today 14%, to match the level of Arab women’s participation in the national labour market, currently a meager 27%, it would have to create 20,000 workplaces and train 20,000 women – an investment of approximately one billion shekels per annum. The program’s actual investment of 47 million NIS across five years is a sham. It cannot achieve any real change beyond showcasing Israeli sovereignty.

The program ignores the harshest problems overshadowing the present and future of East Jerusalemites: the acute housing crisis; the humanitarian catastrophe awaiting the neighborhoods outside the SB; the massive emigration to these neighborhoods; the shortage of jobs; the resulting crime.

Without real investment in development of the labour market, in resolving the housing crisis, and in the massive damages caused by the Separation Barrier (SB), the program is meaningless, except for its actual aim – bolstering Israeli sovereignty in EJ and preventing any diplomatic resolution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In practice, the new program continues a policy that has long aimed to cause Palestinian Jerusalemites to abandon the city’s municipal jurisdiction, changing the city’s demographic balance and “Judaizing” it.

2. The results of the policy

2.1. Poverty in EJ

According to the poverty indices that appear in the 2012 Statistical Yearbook of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (based on NII figures), out of the 300,200 EJ inhabitants, 238,800 – 77% – live below the poverty line. The figure includes 119,100 children.

In the same year (2012), the average monthly income for this population group was 1410 NIS per capita, while the poverty level in Israel was 2420 NIS per capita – a difference of 50%. This compares with an average of 34% below the poverty line for families in West Jerusalem.

Poverty rates have been trending upward in recent years: between 2006, when Israel completed the SB in Jerusalem, and 2011, an increase of about 10% in poverty was registered among East Jerusalemites. In the same period, the poverty rate among the Jewish population of Jerusalem stayed as it was.

Among the main reasons for the severe poverty one must mention the low rate of EJ women’s participation in the labour force. In 2011, only 37% of Palestinian East Jerusalemites participated in the labour force – 59% of men and only 14% of women.

The rise in poverty has paralleled the completion of the SB in Jerusalem. This fact shows an adverse effect of the SB in the reverse direction from the one we usually think of: the Palestinians in the main part of the city, inside the SB, have been cut off from sources of livelihood in the Palestinian villages surrounding Jerusalem and from the West Bank as a whole.

2.2. Pushing EJ Palestinians to neighborhoods beyond the SB

The housing crisis and the climbing poverty rate motivate EJ Palestinians to leave their expensive city center to the outside-SB neighborhoods, even though these may turn out to be death traps. The statistical yearbooks published by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies indicate a continuing trend of internal migration from the neighborhoods of the Palestinian city center (the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, Wadi Joz, Sheikh Jarrah, and Shuafat) to those cut off by the SB (Kafr ‘Aqab, Atarot, the Shuafat Refugee Camp, and New Anata).

Balance of migration for 2011 Balance of migration for 2012
Neighborhoods registering increase (with estimated number of added residents) Neighborhoods registering increase (with estimated number of added residents)
Kafr ‘Aqab and Atarot (outside SB) (1060 persons) Kafr ‘Aqab and Atarot (outside SB) (1220 persons)
Shuafat Refugee Camp (outside SB) (690) Shuafat Refugee Camp (outside SB) (560)
New Anata (beyond SB) (360) New Anata (beyond SB) (310)
Total increase beyond SB: 2110 Total increase beyond SB: 2450
Neighborhoods registering decrease (with estimated number of fewer residents) Neighborhoods registering decrease (with estimated number of fewer residents)
Muslim Quarter in the Old City (1240) Muslim Quarter in the Old City (1630)
Wadi Joz and Sheikh Jarrah (430) Wadi Joz and Sheikh Jarrah (360)
Shuafat (360) Shuafat (440)
Total decrease within center of EJ: 2030 Total decrease within center of EJ: 2430
Total balance of migration from EJ for 2011Total number of Palestinians who left the neighborhoods inside the SB:  2030Total number of Palestinians who moved to neighborhoods outside the SB: 2110 Total balance of migration from EJ from 2012Total number of Palestinians who left the neighborhoods inside the SB:  2430 Total number of Palestinians who moved to neighborhoods outside the SB: 2090

This table summaries data that appear in the statistical yearbooks of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies for 2013 and 2014.

The result of the massive migration and wild construction is the total collapse of infrastructure in the area, which already suffered from many years of neglect. We saw a recent example for this when the water supply to hundreds of homes in the Shuafat camp was interrupted for several days.

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Shuafat Refugee outside the SB, 2014: Nobody in charge. WAC photo.

At the same time, a sharp increase in severe criminal incidents has been noted in the area beyond the SB– armed robbery, murder, drug trafficking – incidents which are not addressed at all by the Jerusalem municipality, nor by police, are usually not even reported in Israeli media, and as said before, are not addressed by the new government program.

2.3. Threatening the residency status of EJ Palestinians outside the SB

The residency status of EJ Palestinians is tentative. It depends on their place of residence and the “center of life.” They must prove that they live in Israel, and in addition they must provide proofs that they use Israel’s health, educational, and other municipal services; that they work in Israel; and that they pay Israeli taxes. Quite often they discover that the functionaries in the Interior Ministry and the NII cast doubts on their residency. Such doubts can lead, for starters, to the cancelling of welfare, health services, and NII benefits, and can end with a prohibition against living in Israel, including EJ.

Because of the lack of municipal services in the neighborhoods outside the SB, such as health, education, water, and electricity, the residents there have difficulty in presenting evidence (such as water and electricity bills, school certificates, and kindergarten registration) to prove that their center of life is in Israel. Furthermore, in order to leave these neighborhoods and enter the heart of the city, they have to go through a military checkpoint. This makes every entry long and arduous, whether to work, to school, to the EB or to the NII. The problem is especially hard on the residents of Kafr ‘Aqab, who have to enter via the Kalandia Checkpoint, because this is a central passage for tens of thousands of Palestinians with entry permits who come from all over the northern West Bank to work in Israel. Kalandia is notorious for its overcrowding and its security searches. This reality makes it extremely onerous to appear as required at the NII and the EB in order to achieve one’s rights.

The same reality makes it hard for the EJ Palestinians outside the SB to work in Israel or to send their children to study at schools within the municipal boundaries, and so they are forced to find solutions outside the SB. As a result, they have difficulty keeping their center of life within Israel as far as the NII is concerned. They lose their residency and, with it, the right to live in Jerusalem.

There is another danger as well: that Israel will cancel its sovereignty over the outside-SB neighborhoods and transfer them unilaterally to its Civil Administration for the territories, along with the residents. The intention to do this was already voiced by Ehud Olmert when he was mayor, and it has since been repeated several times by the current mayor, Nir Barkat. If such a thing is carried out unilaterally, and not in the framework of an agreement on an overall political solution, it will nullify the residency of all who live in these neighborhoods—and thus uproot tens of thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem.

3. The National Insurance Institute and the Employment Bureau as tools of policy

The NII and the EB have the important task of preventing decline into poverty and providing an economic safety net when people undergo periods of unemployment, job accidents, and other disasters. In this section, however, we shall view the work of the NII and EB in East Jerusalem against the background of the policy of pushing Palestinian Jerusalemites outside the Separation Barrier (SB).

3.1. Introduction – separate bureaus for East and West Jerusalemites

Both the NII and the EB have separate bureaus for residents of East and West Jerusalem. Complaints reveal that the EJ bureaus employ different procedures from those used elsewhere in the country, especially in West Jerusalem. The meaning of this difference is twofold. The direct result is obstruction of claims. An additional result is the sense among Palestinians that there is no point in turning to these institutions, since their claims are doomed to failure. This impression was confirmed by an EB representative who told a WAC employee that of all the appeals filed by employment seekers in 2013, 100% were rejected by the EB Appeals Committee.

According to NII data, in 2012 only 5.75% of the 41,000 EJ families living below the poverty line received Income Maintenance. The comparative figure for that year among the 31,000 poor Jewish families in West Jerusalem was 9.22%. This is especially serious in light of the fact that the average income of families below the poverty line in EJ is significantly lower than that of such families in West Jerusalem. The evidence reaching us and the complaints WAC handles have shed light on the conduct which causes this gap.

3.2. Examples of complaints handled by WAC involving the National Insurance Institute and the Employment Bureau

3.2.1. Background

In the first half of 2014, WAC handled 116 individual cases. Of these, 86 concerned the NII, involving claims for income maintenance, unemployment benefits, and work accidents. 30 cases concerned the EB, including real time telephone intervention, helping women register, foiling referral to fictitious or inappropriate jobs, preventing the logging of refusals, and appeals.

We shall present some examples, but first a little background. In order to file a claim for Income Maintenance or unemployment benefits with the NII, the claimant must come to the EB for referral to suitable work. The EB must register the claimants’ visits, even if they have yet to make their claims to the NII. The claimants must present themselves for every job interview they are referred to. If a claimant refuses a suitable job offer, s/he is denied unemployment benefits. Due to the sensitivity of such denial (especially in cases of Income Maintenance, which is a stipend for minimal existence with dignity), procedures have been laid out for logging cases where a claimant refuses a job. The clerk must log the refusal in writing, must notify the claimant concerning the registration, and must state the reason, along with a right to appeal. As for the NII, when one files a claim there, one is supposed to receive a written confirmation for the claim and the documents submitted.

3.2.2. The NII refuses to accept documents

Example: On December 1, 2013, an EJ resident, Mrs. Shakirat, submitted a claim for Income Maintenance at the offices of the NII. She submitted, among other things, documents testifying that her husband was serving a prison sentence – documents exempting him from presenting himself at the EB.

The NII refused to provide a receipt of confirmation for these documents and later claimed they had never been submitted. Because Mrs. Shakirat had no proof that she had submitted them, she had to re-submit them, but again she received no receipt, and so on.

In July 2014, Mr. and Mrs. Shakirat discovered that their claim had been refused. The reason given was that Mr. Shakirat had not presented himself at the EB, despite the documents submitted many times exempting him from this requirement.

Only after WAC’s intervention did the NII confirm receipt of the documents. It approved the couple’s Income Maintenance stipend on June 25, 2014 – 7 months after submission.

3.2.3. Claims obstruction and abusive conduct toward claimants at the NII and refusal to receive claimants at the EB

image012

Receiving the public at WAC’s office in EJ

Example: On March 2, 2014, Mrs. Najat Shaheen submitted a claim for Income Maintenance at the NII.

To her astonishment, the clerk at the desk tore up the claim before her eyes, together with the documents attached to it, claiming (falsely) that it was the wrong form, then threw the documents away and, it goes without saying, refused to provide a receipt.

A few days later Mr. and Mrs. Shaheen turned to the EB, where the clerks refused to deal with them or provide them with confirmation for presenting themselves, claiming that this would require a receipt confirming a claim at the NII.

In such instances, let it be noted, the institutions act against official procedures. The NII did so when refusing to accept the claim and provide confirmation, and the EB did so when it refused to deal with the claimants, saying that this required a receipt from the NII for the claim. In this way, these institutions proceed differently than their counterparts in Israel, complementing one another in causing denial of benefits. East Jerusalemites receive such treatment on a regular basis.

Only after WAC’s intervention did the NII agree to receive the claims forms and did the EB allow the Shaheens to register as job seekers. Recently their claim for aid was approved – five months after it was first submitted.

3.2.4. Claimants harassed with endless requirements to produce documents and information

Example: On Wednesday, January 26, 2014, Mr. ‘Adnan Jamal filed his claim for Income Maintenance.

The NII required from Mr. Jamal documents and photographs of three assets in the “Post Office neighborhood” – assets which, the Institute claimed, were owned by Mr. Jamal – so that it could be determined whether he has an income from these assets.

It should be noted that Mr. Jamal owns just one asset, not three, and that his asset is derelict. This fact was already known to the NII. It had recently sent an investigator on its behalf to conduct a thorough investigation, and it had even held a Labour Court discussion in the wake of this investigation, in which Mr. Jamal was ruled to be the owner of one room only.

Only after WAC’s intervention, and after presenting the investigative documents produced by the NII itself, did the Institute recognize its error. On May 15, 2014, the NII gave notice of approving the claim – three months after its submission.

3.2.5 The Employment Bureau refuses to register women as job seekers without written NII confirmation of an Income Maintenance Claim – WAC assistance in real time

Example: Mr. and Mrs. Bilal went to the EB in May 2014. Mr. Bilal was registered with no difficulty, but Mrs. Bilal was surprised to discover that Bureau clerks refused to register her as a job seeker without written confirmation from the NII for an Income Maintenance claim.

Mrs. Bilal contacted WAC while at the Bureau. East Jerusalem EB director Mr. Moshe Becker claimed, in a conversation, with WAC that he did not believe Mrs. Bilal was interested in working, and so, although he agreed to our request to register her as a job seeker, he declared his intention to log a job refusal on her part, despite the fact that no job had been offered to her. The significance of logging a refusal is the denial of the right to an unemployment benefit. Only after WAC clarified to him that this decision did not meet the EB’s own procedural requirements did the director reverse his decision.

It should be noted that such cases occur often, especially in relation to women seeking to register as job seekers at the EB. Recently, while we were handling a similar case, a Bureau clerk clarified to us that the EB Director’s instructions dictated that women should not be registered as job seekers without an NII document confirming submission of a claim for Income Maintenance. These instructions blatantly contradict EB procedures, which require that a job seeker be registered even if they carry only an identity card.

3.2.6. EB carelessness while registering job seekers, leading to arbitrary logging of refusal, with the EB Appeals Committee functioning as a rubber stamp

Mr. Ra’ed Ziade began presenting himself at the EB to claim unemployment aid on July 23, 2012. When registering, he reported health problems. He was therefore summoned before a Medical Committee – but not until September 20.

At the end of the Committee discussion, he was informed orally that he would not be sent to hard physical labour, but Mr. Ziade never received a detailed Committee decision in writing, nor the Committee’s minutes. As it would later turn out, these documents were not even placed in Mr. Ziade’s personal file.

On February 10, 2014, Mr. Ziade was summoned for an interview at the EB and offered the possibility of a position as a merchandise sorter. In the job interview, Mr. Ziade noted his medical limitations, which prevent him from lifting heavy weights, and he asked the employer for work appropriate to these constraints. The Bureau clerk present at the interview burst out at him, claiming there was no note of medical problems and demanding that he present medical documents. When he promptly produced the documents, the Bureau clerk yelled at him that he was not allowed to present medical documents during the interview. Still yelling, he called Security to remove him from the room.

Mr. Ziade later discovered that a refusal was logged for this interview, which caused his aid to be denied for two months. He submitted an appeal with WAC’s help to the EB Appeals Committee, which rejected it, referring to it as “random procedural claims.”

During this Committee discussion, Bureau clerk Mr. Yaacov Binashvili told a WAC representative present that 100% of the appeals submitted by East Jerusalemites in 2013 had been rejected. This confirms our impression, after handling many cases, that the Appeals Committee is not impartial, but rather serves as a rubber stamp for the EB’s decisions.

Currently, an appeal is being submitted to the Labour Court concerning the Appeals Committee decision in Mr. Ziade’s case.

3.2.7. EB referrals to fictitious jobs

According to many complaints reaching WAC, the EB refers employment seekers to fictitious jobs. In these cases, job seekers contact the employer they were referred to (often manpower agencies) only to learn that there are no openings. Employers often note that they did not ask the EB for workers.

Worse yet – WAC receives complaints from job seekers who have had a refusal logged after an employer they were referred to refused to meet with them (because, again, they needed no workers). In such a case, the worker is left with a referral form that has not been filled out by the employer, thus enabling the EB to claim that the claimant refused work. Alternatively, we have had cases in which the employer took the worker’s form, leaving them with nothing to present to the EB. WAC now works preventively in these cases, informing the EB in real-time when it happens – before a refusal is logged – demanding that the worker be referred to real work and that no refusal be logged.

3.3. Contact with the responsible authorities

Following a press release about the problematic conduct at the EJ branch of the NII, branch director Ms. Etti Raanan contacted WAC.

After a number of meetings and written exchanges with the director, we opened a direct channel of communication with her, regarding both the handling of concrete cases and the branch’s procedures. Recently Ms. Raanan admitted that the EJ branch had not implemented the procedure requiring that claimants be given a receipt for their claims and documents (a procedure implemented in all other branches in the country). She said that this was a severe problem to be solved. Nonetheless, in official correspondence, the position regarding the difference in procedures continues to be one of denial.

WAC is also in daily contact with the East Jerusalem Employment Bureau, and specifically with Bureau director Mr. Moshe Becker. Our real-time petitions to him have led to successful assistance for job seekers in general and for the women in particular. At the same time, the EB refuses to admit that this is a deep problem requiring changes of procedure. It refuses to acknowledge the obstacles that it systematically places to prevent employment seekers from receiving their benefits.

4. Summary

As illustrated by the examples presented above, not only do the NII and the EB fail to provide immediate relief to the poverty and hardship in EJ, but this failure seems to be intentional.

In practice, the failure is part of a longstanding policy, the goal of which is to strip Palestinian East Jerusalemites of their rights and public services, in a manner that motivates them to abandon the municipal area, in order to change the demographic balance of the city.

***

image014*This report was written as part of a joint project of WAC-MAAN and Ir Amim. This EU-funded project aims to assist the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem with infrastructure and the achievement of socioeconomic rights in the face of Israeli policy, emphasizing what happens in the neighborhoods outside the Separation Barrier.

The contents of this report are the responsibility of WAC-MAAN.

 

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