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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

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11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

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7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

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19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

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16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

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September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



Jerusalem city boss asks IDF to govern Arab residents on other side of the Wall

The wall separating Palestinian neighbourhoods from Jerusalem; photo EPA, Al Jazeera
Israel wall used for segregation, not just security

Israel’s separation wall is unjustly disassociating Palestinian neighbourhoods from the city of Jerusalem.

Ben White, Al Jazeera
July 31, 2012

It was recently revealed that a senior official in the Jerusalem municipality has asked the Israeli military “to take responsibility for handling civilian matters pertaining to Jerusalem residents east of the separation fence”.

Jerusalem municipality’s director-general Yossi Heiman told the meeting a few weeks ago that the city “wants the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] to take responsibility for monitoring construction and providing sanitation services”.

Ha’aretz reported that “the meeting concluded with a decision to form a committee that will present a plan to the government”.

Tens of thousands of East Jerusalem residents with blue Israeli identity cards living in Palestinian neighbourhoods beyond the Separation Wall are “cut off from the bulk of the city” and forced “to pass through checkpoints on a daily basis in order to get to work, attend school, obtain medical services, visit family, etc”. This “physical separation”, in the words of the UN’s OCHA, means “residents suffer from impeded access to services on the ‘Jerusalem’ side of the Barrier, the lack of municipal services in situ, a security vacuum and increasing lawlessness and crime”.

Behind a new checkpoint, and hemmed in by the Wall and Israel’s colonies, Shuafat refugee camp typifies the bitter irony behind Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s hollow claim to oversee a “united” city. Household waste gathers in piles, construction is unregulated, and crime is unchecked.

As local doctor Salim Anati told me during one of my visits to the camp in 2010, Shuafat camp is “a problem” for the Israeli plan of making “a continuity of settlements on the east side of Jerusalem” – thus the camp is “on the wrong side” of the Wall. He predicted that “in a few years, Israel can turn around and say that those on the other side of the Wall are no longer part of the city”.

That same year, Jerusalem city councillor Yakir Segev made a speech in which he said that the Palestinian areas east of the Wall were “no longer part of the city”, noting that the “separation fence… was built for political and demographic reasons – not just security concerns”. In December 2011, Mayor Barkat publicly proposed “relinquish[ing] areas of the municipality that are located outside of the fence”, adjustments that, “according to a municipal source”, would mean “a very small territorial gain for Jerusalem, with a loss of approximately 40,000 Arab residents”.

It is a familiar story. Speaking to BBC’s Hardtalk in July 2011, Mayor Barkat confirmed that he wants to maintain a Jewish majority in the city. A 2010 US diplomatic cable records Barkat’s belief that the natural growth of Jerusalem’s Palestinians is a “strategic threat” (comments that the cable notes “reflect long-standing GOI [Government of Israel] policy regarding the desired demographic balance in Jerusalem”). A previous mayor of Jerusalem, Ehud Olmert, said while in office that it is “a matter of concern when non-Jewish population rises a lot faster than Jewish population”.

The desire to be rid of Palestinian neighbourhoods east of the Wall thus shatters two persistent myths. The first is that the route of the Wall was designed for “security”, rather than as an element in a regime of colonial segregation. The second myth is that Jerusalem – where, in the words of Deputy Mayor Meron Benvenisti, “an ethnic population ratio serves as a philosophy” – is a city whose residents enjoy equality. In other words, the myth and reality is a microcosm of Israel as a whole, where the motto continues to be “maximum land with minimum Palestinians, maximum Palestinians on minimum land”.

Ben White is a freelance journalist, writer and activist, specialising in Palestine/Israel.

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