USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

‘Quiet transfer’ in East Jerusalem nears completion

Posted by uscsjp on September 17, 2006

Elodie Guego, Forced Migration Review, 6 September 2006 

Israel is close to implementing a long-term plan to transform the demographic structure of annexed East Jerusalem. Policies to revoke the residency permits of Palestinian Jerusalemites and to Judaise the city have been described as ethnic cleansing.

After victory in the 1967 Six Day war, Israel annexed East Jerusalem – that part of the city that had been under Jordanian rule since the end of the British Mandate in 1948 – together with an additional 64 square kilometres which had been part of the West Bank. Jerusalem thus became Israel’s largest city and was declared to be its ‘united and eternal capital’. The international community, led by the UN, has continuously denounced this act of unilateral annexation, arguing it is a violation of the fundamental principle in international law prohibiting the forcible acquisition of territory. The international community has consistently considered East Jerusalem to be an occupied territory, thus akin to the West Bank and Gaza. . .

The housing crisis and the level of overcrowding of Palestinian neighbourhoods are such that Palestinians have been forced outside the city’s municipal boundaries or compelled to build homes in violation of Israeli laws. By building illegally they expose themselves to high fines and the threat of house demolition. In recent years, the number of houses demolished for lack of building permits has grown significantly According to the Israeli human rights organisation, B’tselem, between 1999 and 2003 in East Jerusalem 229 houses and other structures were demolished while in 2004 and 2005 alone 198 houses were demolished, displacing 594 people. This acceleration coincides with new land expropriations and plans for the development of new Jewish settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods such as in Ras-al-amud or the
Mount of Olives. . .

This eight-metre high Wall has given Israel a pretext to achieve long-established goals under the guise of security. Jerusalem is at the heart of all the antagonisms in the Middle East. International silence and failure to speak out against Israeli’s transfer strategy is likely to have irreversible consequences and destroy regional prospects for peace. The transfer of Palestinians will soon be an undisputed reality but should not remain ‘quiet’.  

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