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>
<p> </p>

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.

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