- So says a confidential EU report revealed on March 7
by The London Guardian's Rory McCarthy. It accuses Israel "of using
settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies
and the West Bank (Separation) barrier as a way of 'actively pursuing the
illegal annexation' of East Jerusalem." More still, including restrictive
permits, "closure of Palestinian institutions," and various other
ways to "increase Jewish presence in" the city, "impede
Palestinian urban development, and separate East Jerusalem from the rest
of the West Bank" incrementally to annex it.
- It says plans are now accelerated and have undermined
the Palestinian Authority's (PA) credibility as well as weakened support
for peace. It calls "Israel's actions in and around Jerusalem....one
of the most acute challenges to Israeli-Palestinian peace-making (yet)
have limited security justifications." In addition, they're illegal.
- Israel dismissed the criticisms as "a disinformation
campaign" and claimed that "mayor Nir Barkat continues to promote
investments in infrastructure, construction and education in East Jerusalem,
while at the same time upholding the law throughout West and East Jerusalem
equally without bias." Those comments, of course, have no basis in
fact nor do any from Israeli officials with regard to Palestinians.
- The EU report cites Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
that prohibits "Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as
deportations of protected persons from occupied territory...." Neither
shall "The Occupying Power....deport or transfer parts of its own
civilian population into the territory it occupies." In addition,
numerous UN resolutions established "no legal validity" for settlement
building or for East Jerusalem's annexation.
- Yet settlement expansions continue at a "rapid pace"
- in the past year alone with nearly 5500 new units submitted for public
review, 3000 of which have been approved. Through yearend 2008, they number
in total around 470,000, including 190,000 in Arab East Jerusalem.
- Of particular concern are "settlements inside the
Old City, where there were plans (for) 35 housing units in the Muslim quarter,
as well as (more) for Silwan, just outside the Old City walls" - the
idea being to connect East Jerusalem with Old City settlements, then "sever"
them from the West Bank.
- The Guardian's McCarthy states:
- "There are plans for 3500 housing units, an industrial
park, two police stations and other infrastructure in a controversial area
known as E1, between East Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale
Adumin, home to 31,000 settlers." The EU report called Israeli E1
measures "one of the most significant challenges to the....peace process."
- Israel responded as expected - that it's "committed
to the continued development of the city for the benefits of all its population,"
and that East Jerusalem Palestinians are better off than those in the West
Bank," according to Olmert spokesman, Mark Regev. The EU clearly disagrees.
So do human rights activists and Palestinians throughout the Territories
living under an oppressive military occupation where international laws
are debased so none of their rights are observed.
- More from the "EU Heads of Mission Report on East
- No longer confidential, the reports documents numerous
abuses in spite of Israeli denials to the contrary. Besides the above:
- -- in October 2008, a new synagogue was inaugurated "in
the immediate vicinity of the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount" raising
Palestinian concerns about Israel's plans to take over the sanctuary as
extremist settlers are promoting;
- -- the recent "Mufti's Grove" confiscation
of 29 dunums (around seven acres) for settler development;
- -- increased settler incursions into the Haram Al Sharif
on the Temple Mount, at times protected by Israeli security forces;
- -- Palestinian properties are being targeted and families
evicted from their homes;
- -- provocative settlement expansions are continuing "in
the heart of the Palestinian population;"
- -- Palestinian urban development is being impeded "by
depriving East Jerusalem of most of the still vacant areas available for
economic and demographic growth;"
- -- land is being confiscated for road construction;
- -- the Separation Wall and "permit regime"
cause "serious humanitarian, social and economic impact on Palestinian
life;" in addition, 86% of it is on stolen land inside the Green Line;
"the Wall in the Jerusalem area de facto annexes 3.9% of the West
Bank" and extends Israel's border illegally; by including "illegal
settlements, (the Wall) cuts off 285,000 Palestinians," including
East Jerusalem, from the West Bank creating enormous hardships as a result;
- -- as more of the Wall is completed, "the checkpoint
and permit regime imposed on West Bankers is being tightened;" only
around 20% of farmers have permits for their land; the impact on their
lives is "serious;" once the Wall is completed, it's "estimated
that 35,000 Palestinians will need permits for their own homes" with
no assurance they'll get them;
- -- East Jerusalem's Al Quds University's Beit Hanina
Campus is also affected; it reports a 70% drop in students;
- -- fewer Palestinian Christians and Muslims have access
to religious sites;
- -- West Bank and East Jerusalem economies have declined
with customers cut off from markets and services;
- -- East Jerusalem hospitals providing specialist healthcare
face "increasing difficulties providing services for (West Bank) patients"
who can't access it without permits;
- -- East Jerusalemities get miniscule budgets that greatly
restrict essential public services - "in sharp contrast to areas
where Israelis live both in West Jerusalem and East Jerusalem settlements;"
- -- severe municipality restrictions impede "the
building of Palestinian housing in East Jerusalem;" very few permits
are issued for it;
- -- "since Israel annexed East Jerusalem, more than
35% of its territory has been expropriated (more than 24 sq. km);"
of the remainder, much is unzoned and off limits for construction; even
in zoned areas, "development has been artificially 'capped,' leaving
only 12% of East Jerusalem (mostly originally Palestinian owned land) for
Palestinian residential purposes;"
- -- building anywhere without permits means likely demolition,
but getting one is onerous; authorities issue fewer than 200 a year, and
"even these require a wait of several years and are usually a costly
- -- various other obstacles and restrictions make life
for East Jerusalem Palestinians difficult to impossible, yet Israel finds
new ways of imposing them.
- Bricup's "Report on East Jerusalem"
- Bricup is the British Committee for the Universities
of Palestine, "an organisation set up in response to the Palestinian
Call for Academic Boycott" - with twin missions:
- -- "to support Palestinian universities, staff and
- -- "to oppose the continued illegal Israeli occupation
of Palestinian lands with its concomitant breaches of international conventions
of human rights, its refusal to accept UN resolutions or rulings of the
International Court (ICJ), and its persistent suppression of Palestinian
- Undated but likely from mid to late 2005, its report
calls "East Jerusalem....of central importance to the Palestinians
in political, economic, social and religious terms. Several inter-linked
Israeli policies are reducing the possibility of reaching a final status
agreement on Jerusalem," and show Israel's clear intent to make its
East Jerusalem annexation "a concrete fact" by:
- -- completing the Separation Wall to encircle the city;
- -- continuing illegal settlement expansions;
- -- annexing East Jerusalem one demolished home at a time;
- -- strictly enforcing rules separating East Jerusalem
Palestinians from those in the West Bank, including by a reduced number
of work permits; and
- -- the Jerusalem municipality's discriminatory taxation,
expenditure, and building permit policies.
- Along with continued home demolitions, expanding the
Ma'aleh Adumin settlement into area E1 threatens to completely encircle
the city with Jewish settlements and split the West Bank in two. Once the
Separation Wall is completed, East Jerusalem will be isolated physically,
politically, commercially and socially. With justification, Palestinians
fear that Israel will "get away with it," seriously erode any
chance for peace, and radicalize "the hitherto relatively quiescent
" East Jerusalem population.
- Jerusalem remains one of the thorniest issues in reaching
an equitable resolution to the Israeli - Palestinian conflict, yet Tel
Aviv appears determined to make it harder. EU policy is based (if not enforced)
on the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (November 1967)
that calls for "Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories
occupied in the recent conflict." As a result, EU member states (nominally
at least) reject East Jerusalem's annexation or any measures to change
its status. Nonetheless, Israel continues to violate international laws,
and as a result, creates huge humanitarian and political fallout, so far
- Bricup wants but hasn't gotten clear EU and Quartet
statements for Israel to desist from all illegal and disruptive policies
or face political consequences if it refuses. As long as that persists,
resolution to the long-running conflict remains stymied with Israel in
command and Palestinians faced with the continued loss of their rights
- Historical Background and Basic Information on Occupied
Palestine and Jerusalem
- In November 1947, six months before Israel became a state,
the General Assembly Partition Plan (Resolution 181) gave Jews 56% of historic
Palestine, Palestinians 42%, with 2% kept under internationalized trusteeship,
including Jerusalem. Israel's 1948 War of Independence seized 78%. Then
in December, UN Resolution 194 mandated free access to Jerusalem, other
holy places, and granted Palestinians the right of return.
- In May 1949, UN Resolution 273 gave Israel UN membership
conditional on it accepting resolutions 181 and 194 and "unreservedly
(agreeing to honor) the obligations of the United Nations Charter."
However, earlier in June 1948, the Israeli cabinet (with no formal vote)
barred Palestinian refugees from returning and adopted "Israelification"
and "De-Arabization" as policy, especially with regard to Jerusalem.
The same policy holds today to preserve Israel's "Jewish character"
and confine Palestinians to isolation, confinement, and continued oppression
under military occupation.
- From May 1948 until June 1967, Israel controlled West
Jerusalem's 38 square kilometers while Jordan governed East Jerusalem's
six square km area. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel annexed 70 square
West Bank km, including East Jerusalem, 28 Palestinian villages, and parts
of Bethlehem and Beit Jala's municipalities to make Jerusalem Israel's
largest city. Also its most controversial by creating a Jewish majority
to solidify Israeli sovereignty over the city henceforth.
- Palestinian villages were divided to exclude heavily-populated
areas, and much of their land was expropriated for Jews. Remaining Palestinians
became "permanent residents:"
- -- unwanted on their own land;
- -- treated like foreign immigrants;
- -- denied most citizenship rights, even for native Jerusalemites
with roots going back generations or longer; and
- -- targeted by Israel for removal - one home demolition
at a time to make way for new Jewish settlements.
- As of year end 2005, Jerusalem's population was 723,700,
according to B'Tselem - 482,000 Jews (67%) and 241,000 Palestinians (33%).
The Jewish Virtual Library's numbers are even more one-sided at 582,700
Jews (69%), 240,900 Palestinians (29%), and 15,700 Christians (2%) for
an 839,300 total.
- Israel constrains a faster-growing Palestinian population
- -- expropriating Palestinian land, by individual seizures
and the Separation Wall;
- -- physically isolating East Jerusalem from the rest
of the West Bank;
- -- employing discriminatory policies, including land
expropriation, home demolitions, building restrictions including denial
of permits, and other restrictive measures;
- -- revoking residency and other benefits of Palestinians
who stay abroad for seven years or who can't prove that Jerusalem is their
- -- providing East Jerusalem few services to cause severe
deprivation and encourage its residents to leave; sanitation facilities
are sorely lacking; sewage and drainage infrastructure is grossly inadequate;
infrastructure overall is in disrepair; trash goes uncollected and piles
up in streets; the postal service barely functions; few neighborhoods get
fresh water; educational facilities are few and deplorable, and much more;
- -- raising poverty to outlandish levels; in 2003, Central
Bureau of Statistics data showed the damage - 64% of East Jerusalem Palestinians
lived in poverty; for children, it was 76%; today the numbers are likely
- -- using police and security force harshness to exacerbate
conditions through harassment, violence, terror, and killings.
- East Jerusalem remains illegally annexed and occupied.
In addition, all the above infringements violate Fourth Geneva law that
requires an occupying power to provide essential goods and services and
do nothing to restrict them. It also prohibits "violence to life and
person (including) murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, torture (and) outrages
upon personal dignity." It designates everyone under occupation as
"protected persons" fully covered by law. It bans "Individual
or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons
(anywhere) or transfer (of) parts of its own population into the territory
it occupies." Israel is in violation on all counts, and consider others
as well below.
- Obstacles to Palestinian Family Unification
- Until May 2002, Israeli citizens, including Arabs, married
to Palestinians in the Territories could live with their spouses in Israel,
after completing a lengthy Ministry of Interior process to OK it. No longer
after the government froze the application process and on July 31, 2003
passed the Nationality and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order) Law, 5763
- 2003. Thereafter, it was renewed.
- The statute henceforth prohibits Israelis from bringing
their Territory spouses into Israel, and children as well are harmed. Those
residing in East Jerusalem who were born in the Territories are barred
from residency in Israel.
- As a result, tens of thousands are affected. Couples
violating the law risk serious recriminations if caught, even in East Jerusalem,
the West Bank or Gaza. Without a special permit, Israelis are forbidden
to enter Gaza or Area A in the West Bank. However, couples who married
before the law's enactment, in cases where Territory spouses hadn't yet
received permanent Israeli status, may live together provided the Civil
Administration issues a permit, something extremely hard to get and often
- Israel's "demographic bomb" is the problem
- meaning the time when a faster-growing Palestinian population becomes
a majority and threatens the Jewish State's character. Israel's solution
is repressive laws and violent ethnic cleansing to prevent it, in Israel
and the Territories.
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Adalah
Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, some Knesset members,
and couples harmed by the law petitioned the Supreme Court to void it.
However, on May 14, 2006, Israel's High Court of Justice upheld it in spite
of several UN agencies (UNHRC, UNCERD, and UNCEDAW) and human rights organizations
calling for its revocation.
- Its opponents call it discriminatory, racist, and in
violation of international law for infringing on family life, privacy,
dignity, and equality by treating Jews one way and Palestinians another.
Various international conventions to which Israel is a signatory prohibit
the practice, including the International Convention on the Elimination
of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), International Covenant of Civil and Political
Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
and the Convention for the Rights of the Child. Nonetheless, so far it
- Annexation Through One Home Demolition at A Time
- The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
helps rebuild homes. It also resists "land expropriation, settlement
expansion, by-pass road construction, policies of 'closure' and 'separation,'
" destruction of agricultural land and crops, and the repressive effects
of occupation, but its original mission was to oppose and resist house
demolitions in the Occupied Territories.
- From 1967 through December 2008, ICAHD estimates that
23,535 Palestinian homes overall have been destroyed from information gotten
from the Israeli Ministry of Interior, the Jerusalem Municipality, the
Civil Administration, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs(OCHA), other UN sources, Palestinian human rights groups, Amnesty
International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and other sources. It classifies
types of demolitions as:
- -- punitive as punishment for actions associated with
the houses (around 8.7%);
- -- administrative for lack of a building permit (around
- -- land-clearing and by the military to clear land for
any reason, achieve an IDF goal, or accompany extrajudicial assassinations
(about 64.5%); and
- -- other reasons so far undefined.
- Below is an account of one for lack of a permit - a clear
testimony to the harshness of the practice.
- On July 28, 2008, Hiba al-Almi gave this account about
her family's dream to buy a home. In 2002, her father spent $200,000 for
an apartment, "all his savings. The contractor showed him the building
permit he had received" to reassure him. In June 2006, "we moved
in. The next day, policemen and Jerusalem Municipality officials came and
handed us a demolition order." The building permit apparently wasn't
- On October 18, 2006, final demolition orders were posted
on the building, "and we began to remove our furniture." With
legal help, the order was postponed, and by November her family moved back.
In July 2008, "teams of inspectors and Border Police forces came to
the house a few times." They photographed the building without explanation.
- On July 27 at around 11:30AM, "my parents were abroad
and I was home alone. The bell rang and when I opened the door, I saw three
Jerusalem Municipality inspectors and a Border Police officer with high
ranking insignias on his shoulder." They entered and inspected room
- Hiba slept that night at her aunt's house as she didn't
want to be at home alone. At around 1AM, a neighbor called, said police
might return that night, so "Around 2, I returned home with my aunt....Around
3:30AM, I heard" stun gun grenades exploding, then banging on the
door. "When I opened (it), a few policemen burst in with black masks
on their faces," accompanied by "five huge dogs...."
- She and her aunt were ordered out of the building "immediately,"
not allowed to get dressed, sworn at, slapped, hit in the back, threatened
by one of the dogs, then grabbed by the hair, thrown to the ground, and
kicked. A policeman then pushed her out of the apartment and down the stairs.
Other police were in the stairway, and they hit and punched her as well.
She begged them to let her go back to retrieve valuables and a school project
on her computer. They refused and said everything would be brought out
with the furniture.
- Her father returned the next day at 11:30AM but was prevented
from entering the building. At around 6:30PM, there was a loud explosion
after which the "whole building collapsed, and my life was buried
with it. All my mementos and pictures of the family were buried in the
ruins." All the furniture and much other property and valuables were
lost. The family now lives in a rented house, deeply scarred by the incident,
that's repeated many times throughout the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
- Denial of Social Rights to East Jerusalem Palestinians
- To receive them, including health coverage, individuals
must be an "Israeli resident." East Jerusalem Palestinians are
not so are lawfully excluded from entitlements. Especially suspect are
East Jerusalemites married to non-resident Palestinians so nearly always
allotment request investigations are conducted to check their validity
- to verify if applicants live in Jerusalem lawfully. They take months
and are often denied in violation of residents' rights. When resident parents
want to register children, additional investigations are begun that again
take months so that thousands of resident minors end up denied services.
- The idea is to toughen policies against East Jerusalem
Palestinians and make their lives as harsh as possible toward the goal
of reducing their numbers to provide more areas for Jews.
- A Final Comment
- Early in its history, Zionists chose confrontation over
conciliation and used violence to achieve political aims. Thereafter came
wars, state-sponsored terrorism, military occupation, ethnic cleansing,
land theft, police state justice, and slow motion genocide to rid "Greater
Israel" of Arabs and solidify its character as a Jewish state - most
of all in Jerusalem, a "sacred city" for Zionists with lots of
biblical nonsense and myths for support.
- Ever since, Palestinians have suffered grievously for
over six decades and under occupation since 1967. Sabbah Haitham's blog
says it well:
- "YOU take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy
my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother,
bomb my country, starve us all, humiliate us all....BUT....I am to blame:
I shot a rocket back."
- Nothing on the horizon promises Sabbah relief because
world leaders, above all in America, exempt Israel from international law
and give its government license to plunder, oppress, and terrorize defenseless
Palestinians with impunity, separate them in isolated cantons, keep them
under military occupation, starve them to death in Gaza under siege and
ruthless bombings, and purge them relentlessly from the "sacred city"
- That's where things stand today under new leadership
in Tel Aviv, Washington, and a complicit West Bank coup d'etat Palestinian
government serving Israel as its enforcer and in the process betraying
its own people.
- When will it end? When people everywhere say enough is
enough and join the Global BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) Movement
to punish Israel until it complies with international law, recognizes Palestinian
self-determination, ends its illegal occupation, disbands its settlements,
demolishes the Separation Wall, grants Israeli Arabs equal rights as Jews,
recognizes the right of return, and gives Palestinians their legal claim
to Jerusalem for their capital. Global grassroots movements are determined
to make it happen.
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at