A few days ago the Jerusalem city council approved thirty Hebrew street names for roads in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods. The slow strangulation of Palestinian identity continues, symbolised in this small-minded, grubby decision.
City dwellers need an income, home, amenities in order to survive. Local and national government controlling East Jerusalem provide house demolitions and high taxes instead, in the hope that fewer and fewer Palestinians will want to live there – including the present population. Jillian Kestler D’Amours describes the degradation enforced by the massive separation wall isolating East Jerusalem.
Netanyahu says settlement building will continue ‘without limits’ (1); more exactly, the Ministry of the Interior has ordered the construction of 1000s of new homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank to appease the far right before January’s election, to the dismay of the EU’s Lady Ashton (2 and 3). AP (4) sums it up – with a coda about Chomsky’s visit to Gaza.
Health, hygiene, homes, children’s education, marriage choice, — these are all services or rights without which it is very hard to be a home-based woman. Many Palestinian women have to find a way to make families and keep them well without the entitlements on which women elsewhere rely. WCLAC documents the difficulties and the costs to women’s health.
Shaul Arieli takes a sardonic look at the mathematics of Israeli society and its occupation.
Israel’s Interior Ministry has approved a plan to construct an academy for IDF officers on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem, the area where Palestinians live and own most of the land. The Mount of Olives is regarded as a sacred space by Christians and religious Jews. The plan has been variously justified as providing a magnet for young Jews to a depressed area and establishing Israeli ownership over all Jerusalem.
Palestinian property in East Jerusalem has been scheduled for occupation by Jewish settlers (2). A court order has frozen the first eviction (i), challenges are being prepared on others. The major force in claiming land for the realisation of the Zionist dream has been the Jewish National Fund. JNews provides some history.
A new DCI-Palestine report “Voices from East Jerusalem: The Situation facing Palestinian Children”, sheds light on the day-to-day hardships faced by those living under prolonged military occupation. It paints a disturbing picture of the realities of house demolitions, settler violence and violence against children during arrest and detention.
28 extended refugee families of displaced Palestinians were rehoused in Sheikh Jarrar in East Jerusalem in 1956. They are now being evicted in a process which a visiting delegation of lawyers, in a measured report, finds illegal and discriminatory, ‘are the consequence of inbuilt and structural discrimination against the Palestinian population’.
Alex Miller of Yisrael Beiteinu is head of the Knesset’s education committee and determined to eliminate any Palestinian perspective on history as taught in the schools of East Jerusalem. So no nakba, no Palestinian flags, no occupation, no intifada: “the whole curriculum should and must be Israeli.”
Reports from AP (1) and Reuters (2) that the Israeli state has approved the building of 1,100 new homes for Jews in East Jerusalem has shocked and angered its partners in the USA and Europe who have pledged support for its stance at the UN. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said settlement expansion was illegal and “corrodes trust and undermines the basic principle of land for peace. We call on the Government of Israel to revoke this decision.”
In December 2010, a delegation of UK lawyers visited occupied East Jerusalem to report on violations of housing rights occurring under the Israeli authorities. Forced evictions and house demolitions result in housing instability and deteriorating living conditions for Palestinian families, whilst restrictive planning policies limit the possibilities to recover, leading to detrimental economic and psychological effects. This seminar discusses the findings of the report and how these violations can be addressed in the context of international law.
Of interest to all activists, not just lawyers! All welcome.
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity was formed by Israeli activists who met regularly to protest against Jews moving into the predominantly Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The Jewish Agency for Israel accuses it of being anti-Zionist, opposed to “the right of Jews to make their home in Israel”…
“I was a bit (very) anxious about passport control, not least because my trip to the West Bank has attracted a little coverage in midwifery and local press. I had visions of the guy behind the desk pulling out an article in which I mention my plans to observe midwifery practice in the West Bank and asking me to explain myself…” WithWoman blogs about her current trip to the West Bank
Israel’s Interior Ministry has revoked the permit for the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, to live in Jerusalem, and has refused requests to reinstate it, in spite of protests by Anglican authorities in the West specifically the United States..
Author Mike Marqusee writes of a recent visit to East Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrar. He says of Jerusalem: “The city is a metaphor, an object of longing, a place from which we are all exiled, a better world to which we all aspire. In some parts of the tradition Jerusalem is an ideal of social justice. The literalism of Zionism, and of many pro-Zionist Christians, is very much a modern, reductive twist. At Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and elsewhere, it is thin cover for a naked land grab.”
Novelist Ian McEwan is in Israel to receive the Jerusalem prize for literature despite a strong campaign calling on him to refuse to go. Here he defends his decision while taking part in the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrar and saying he intends to “make my own thoughts clear” when accepting the prize from Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat…
Peace Now’s Settlement Watch has produced updated maps of settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. It is well-worth taking a closer look at the high-resolution PDF available for download.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) spells out the humann cost of evictions and house demolitions in East Jerusalem…
Donald Macintyre reports: “The European Union is so troubled by the increased settlement activity of Israel it has proposed that EU officials should be present at the site of imminent house demolitions or evictions and intervene if non-violent Palestinians face arrest in East Jerusalem, according to a new confidential report.”
And Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt condemns demolitions in East Jerusalem.
Updated 17 Jan: Nir Hasson reports on a secret EU recommendation to treat East Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state