Additional Measures in East Jerusalem
Additional Measures in
Immediately following its occupation of the city, Israel, the occupying Power, took numerous measures to consolidate its control over East Jerusalem and judaize it. The Israeli government expanded the municipal borders of Jerusalem and extended its laws, jurisdiction and administration to East Jerusalem. On 30 July 1980, the Israeli Knesset adopted a law illegally annexing the city. Palestinian Jerusalemites were thus placed in a precarious legal situation, whereby they were issued different Israeli identity cards from other Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Although they did not become citizens, they became subject to Israeli law.
Israel , the occupying Power, has taken various measures to force Palestinians to leave Jerusalem , including land confiscation, restrictions on building, and the refusal to grant family reunifications. Most notable in the past several years has been Israel ’s campaign of evicting Palestinian Jerusalemites from the city. The policy, described as "quiet deportation," involves, inter alia, the widespread confiscation of Palestinian identity cards and has escalated to the point that it is contributing to an additional change in the city’s demographic composition. Since 1967, more than 5,000 Palestinians have been stripped of their Jerusalem residency and forced to leave their homes. The peak years of this policy were 1996 (739 permits revoked), 1997 (1,067 permits) and 1998 (788 permits). When Natan Sharansky was interior minister from 1999 to 2000, the number of revoked residence permits dropped, and has leveled at 200 to 300 per year. In 2005 the number of residencies revoked stood at 222, while by 2006 the number rose to 1,363. This is the highest number of revoked permanent residency permits since the policy was introduced in 1995.
Approximately 25% of the 253,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have been cut off from the city by the construction of the unlawful Wall being built by the occupying Power, Israel. Moreover, Palestinian Jerusalemites risk losing their residency if they reside outside the city for more than 2 years.
Gradually, through the imposition of a permanent closure and numerous restrictions on entry, East Jerusalem has become almost impossible to reach by the rest of the Palestinian population. The city has become off-limits in the last several years, a situation, which has created enormous social, economic, health and educational problems for the entire Palestinian population.
Given Jerusalem ’s religious status, the closures have affected the freedom of religion of the civilian population. The closure of Jerusalem has prevented Christian and Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza from praying at their respective holy places, even during major holidays. Jerusalem ’s holy places, moreover, have been constant targets by the occupying Power for desecration, destruction and transformation. The foundations of many Islamic holy sites have been threatened by Israeli archaeological excavations and the Haram al- Sharif has been the site of numerous violent incidents that resulted in the loss of lives of many Muslim worshippers. The Al-Aqsa Mosque itself has been a target of attacks, such as the 21 August 1969 arson attack that caused extensive damage and destruction. In Hebron , part of Al-Ibrahimi Mosque was transformed into an area for Jewish prayer and Palestinian worshippers have been restricted from praying at the site.
The above-mentioned systematic Israeli policies and measures have been continuously applied by the occupying Power against the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Territory , including Jerusalem , since 1967. The priorities given by Israel , the occupying Power, to those policies and practices and the efforts it took to carry them out have varied according to the different situations on the ground as well as to the overall political environment. For instance, illegal acquisition of land and or the transfer of Israeli population have not taken place with the same intensity throughout the whole period of the occupation; although it has intensified in recent months, according to reports, the expansion of Israeli settlements in the first quarter of 2008 have exceeded all expansion efforts of 2007.
Violence against civilians, collective punishments and deportation of civilians, while always common, dramatically intensified during the 6 year period of the first Intifada, which started in December 1987. This intensification of highly repressive measures, labeled Israel ’s "Iron Fist Policy," was aimed at crushing the uprising as quickly as possible and breaking the will of the people. The figures for this period include the following: over 1100 Palestinians were killed by Israeli security forces, of which approximately 276 were children under the age of seventeen; over 80,000 Palestinians were seriously injured in the first two years alone; 23,000-29,000 children were seriously injured; 10,000 children under the age of 18 were imprisoned for prolonged periods of time; over 18,000 administrative detention orders were issued against Palestinian civilians; more than 75,000 civilians were detained; over 14,000 were placed under administrative detention (at one point, there were approximately 13,000 Palestinians held in custody at one time); more than 2000 homes were demolished. The First Intifada ended in 1993 with the signing of the Oslo Agreement in Washington D.C. From 1993 until 2000, there was relative calm in the Occupied Palestinian Territories , although settlement building continued as did the occupation.
The Second Intifada began in September 2000 when Ariel Sharon, the then opposition leader went to the Haram al Sharif compound on September 28, 2000. His controversial visit sparked an uprising by Palestinians against the Israeli occupation. The total number of Palestinian martyrs killed by the Israeli occupying forces since 28 September 2000 has exceeded 5,000.