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Peace Not Walls

New Report by OCHA on Conditions for Palestinians in Jerusalem

A UN report by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was released in December that focuses on key humanitarian issues in Jerusalem, including:

– Around 293,000 Palestinians currently reside in East Jerusalem, in addition to 200,000 Israeli settlers who reside in the settlements which have been constructed and expanded since 1967, contrary to international law (end of 2011, ICBS).

Approximately 4 million Palestinians from the remainder of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) are prohibited from entering East Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits, which are difficult to obtain.

– Access to East Jerusalem is controlled by a combination of physical and administrative obstacles. Palestinians who are able to obtain permits can only use four of the 16 checkpoints along the Barrier.

Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem lack a secure legal residency status. Between 1967 and mid-2010, around 14,000 Palestinians had their Jerusalem residency revoked by the Israeli authorities.

Approximately 55,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are physically separated from the urban centre by the Barrier; they must cross crowded checkpoints to access health, education and other services to which they are entitled as residents of Jerusalem.

– 35% of land in East Jerusalem has been confiscated for Israeli settlement use; only 13% of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up.

At least 33% of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are difficult to obtain, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement, which has a psychological impact. Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished some 2,000 houses in East Jerusalem.

– There is a chronic shortage of classrooms in East Jerusalem: 1,100 additional classrooms are required to accommodate Palestinian children and many existing facilities are substandard or unsuitable.

New OCHA report on illegal Israeli settlement impact on Palestinians



The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Concerns in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) has released a new report on the humanitarian impact of the Israeli settlement policy on Palestinians. Among its findings:

Key Facts:

    • Since 1967, Israel has established about 150 settlements (residential and others) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; in addition to some 100 “outposts” erected by settlers without official authorization. Three new settlements were approved in 2012 by retroactively ‘authorizing’ such outposts.
    • In 2011, the settler population was estimated at over 520,000; the annual average rate of growth during the past decade was 5.3% (excluding East Jerusalem), compared to 1.8% for the Israeli population as a whole (ICBS).
    • Up to 28 November, there had been a threefold increase in the number of new settler housing units which were issued for tender in 2012, compared to 2011 (Peace Now); on 30 November, the Israeli authorities announced plans to build 3,000 new settlement units in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank.
    • The fenced or patrolled areas of settlements cover three percent of the West Bank; in total 43% of the West Bank is allocated to settlement local and regional councils.
    • Virtually all of the land declared by Israel as public or “state land” (27% of the West Bank) has been allocated to settlements, rather than for the benefit of the local Palestinian population (B’Tselem).
    • About one third of land within the outer limits of settlements is privately owned by Palestinians, according to official Israeli land records (Peace Now).
    • In 2012, one Palestinian was killed and approximately 1,300 injured by Israeli settlers or security forces in incidents directly or indirectly related to settlements, including demonstrations.
    • Only ten percent of 781 investigations conducted by Israeli police into incidents of settler violence between 2005 and 2011 resulted in indictments (Yesh Din).
    • Approximately 540 internal checkpoints, roadblocks and other physical obstacles impede Palestinian movement within the West Bank; these obstacles exist primarily to protect settlers and facilitate their movement, including to and from Israel.
    • The location of settlements was the major consideration behind the deviation of the Barrier’s route into the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; once complete, about 80% of the settler population will live in settlements located on the western (“Israeli”) side of the Barrier.
    • Israeli settlers in the West Bank consume approximately six times the water used by Palestinians in the West Bank.

Press conference on new UN report: Palestinian presence threatened in East Jerusalem

Ray Dolphin of UN OCHA

Ray Dolphin, Barrier Specialist at the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the occupied Palestinian territory  and author of a new report called East Jerusalem: Key Humanitarian Concerns, held a press conference Monday, May 9, highlighting findings of the report that there are many humanitarian factors pushing Palestinians out of Jerusalem.

Click here to see press conference.

Key factors threatening the Palestinian presence include:

  • the revocation of residency rights
  • home demolitions
  • the increase in settlement building
  • zoning and planning practices
  • the separation barrier
  • restrictions on access to education and health care

For each issue raised, there are recommendations, such as: stop settlement building in East Jerusalem; stop home demolitions; stop the revocation of residency rights; increase the number, quality of and access to classrooms.  The 116-page report details the background and current status of each issue as well as provides case studies and stories.

Among these stories:

For more information on the background and issues about Jerusalem, see the Peace not Walls Jerusalem page.

New UN Report Says Palestinian Presence in East Jerusalem Threatened

UN report on EAst Jerusalem
A new report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Occupied Palestinian Territories says that unless current Israeli policies are changed, the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem is at risk.   See the Peace not Walls Major Issue page on Jerusalem for more information, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land’s website for information about our longtime companion church there.
The report gives background, current statistics and case studies about residency rights; planning, zoning and home demolitions; settlements; the separation barrier and restrictions on education and health care.
Citing the Jerusalem Master Plan of 2000 and related policies designed to maintain a Jewish majority in Jerusalem, the report blames the current Palestinian housing shortage on Israeli policies like reserving only 13% of the land for Palestinian building, most of which is already built up, home demolitions, settlement expansion and the new open spaces plan.
Dr. Tawfik Nasser

Dr. Tawfik Nasser, CEO of Augusta Victoria, explains the difficulties of running a hospital in East Jerusalem in a new UN report.

According to the report,  the Palestinian population is also being thinned by the revocation of Jerusalem IDs, the freezing  of family reunification permits and outright evictions is also detailed.  Problems with the separation barrier, access to education and health care are also explored.  One case study in the report features the LWF’s Augusta Victoria Hospital’s CEO Dr. Tawfik Nasser  discussing the difficulty in expanding hospital space and obtaining pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and necessary permits for EMTs.

Augusta Victoria Hospital has been serving refugees and all who need health care since 1949, and is one of six major health institutions in East Jerusalem.  The Lutheran World Federation’s Jerusalem program, which runs the hospital as well as other programs, also has a housing project underway, the Mt. of Olives Housing Project,  to address the critical housing shortage for Palestinians and help keep a Palestinian presence in Jerusalem.

Another case study in the report features the the Kasabrehs.  Ghassan, the organist at Redeemer Lutheran Congregation, has a Jerusalem ID, but his wife, Rimaz, is from Nablus and only has a West Bank ID.  They have been told that the yearly permit they have been issued – a timely and sometimes costly process – will not be issued anymore as of now, so she will be illegal in her own home when her current permit runs out.  The Kasabrehs were featured on an ELCA video entitled The Forbidden Family.