Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thousands of Jerusalemites may lose residency

RAMALLAH: The Director of Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights, Ziad Hammouri, on Friday said that around 165,000 Jerusalemites are living east of the wall that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank.

Hammouri told Arab News that the Jerusalemites might "lose their right to reside in the city." According to Hammouri, 70,000 Jerusalemites living in the neighborhoods of Al-Bareed, Kafr Aqab and Samiramees are facing the same threat of transfer."

He explained that 30,000 Jerusalemites lost their residency since Israeli started implementing its policy of expulsion and ethnic cleansing in the city in early '90s. He said the Israeli Ministry of Interior refuses to reveal details of those who lost their residency in the last three years. Hammouri said that the intensive demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem is aimed at decreasing the number of Palestinians to less than 80,000, warning that the Zionist schemes in the holy city are almost completed.

He said Israel is putting final touches on its Judaization schemes in Jerusalem by confiscating the remaining Palestinian property, adding that the next scheme will be aimed at changing the landmarks of the city.

He pointed out that all measures to judaize Jerusalem was taken in the aftermath of the Oslo accord which stipulated that the Palestinian Authority would be prohibited from doing any kind of activity in Jerusalem, but these actions escalated after the Annapolis conference (held in November 2007).

In January, Yakir Segev, the right-wing Israeli official who holds the East Jerusalem portfolio in the Jerusalem municipality, declared that the Palestinian neighborhoods east of the separation wall were "no longer part of the city."

The residents in these neighborhoods are currently living under near anarchy due to the fact that Israeli authorities, municipality, police, service authorities almost never enter this area and the Palestinian Authority also refrain from entering it as Oslo guidelines forbid them to operate within Jerusalem.

"The State of Israel has given up," Segev said, adding: "(The neighborhoods) are outside the jurisdiction of the state, and certainly the municipality. For all practical purposes, they are (West Bank city of) Ramallah. Outside the half delusional right wing camp, I don't know anyone who wants to enforce Israeli sovereignty over this area," he continued.

"In order to address the problems of East Jerusalem, we must decide on the city's political future," he added. "It is difficult to convince decision makers and the treasury to enlist in helping East Jerusalem when its political future is uncertain." Israel usurped East Jerusalem in the June 1967 War and has since built settlements there that are home to more than 200,000 Israelis.

Control over the city has been seen as the most sensitive and thorniest issue of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians hope to make East Jerusalem the capital of their future state but the Israel says the city is its eternal capital.

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