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 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.


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.

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