May 27, 2009

Palestinian population grows in East Jerusalem

by David Masters

The Palestinian population in Jerusalem increased 3% during 2008 while, in contrast, the Israeli population in Jerusalem increased by just one percent.

The study released today by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies (JIIS) – to coincide with Jerusalem Day celebrations – shows that Palestinians make up 35% of Jerusalem’s 760,800 population.

The Palestinian population in Jerusalem continues to grow despite continued attempts by Israel to secure the Holy City for Israel alone.

A plethora of Israeli policies and actions aim to cleanse the city of Palestinians, including the security/apartheid wall, which cuts off East Jerusalem from the rest of the Palestinian West Bank, the “centre of life” policy, which revokes Palestinians’ Jerusalem residency permits, and the demolition of Palestinian homes.

“Centre of life” dictates that unless a Palestinian works in East Jerusalem, he or she will have their Jerusalem residency permit revoked.

This deliberately and systematically divides families, as – exceptional circumstances aside – Palestinians without Jerusalem residency are not allowed into Jerusalem.

It’s close to impossible for Palestinians to gain building permits for new homes or extensions to current buildings.

Out of desperation, many Palestinians build in East Jerusalem without a permit.

Homes built without a permit are frequently demolished by Israeli bulldozers – over 18,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967.

In related news, a report published earlier this week claimed that three quarters (74%) of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem live in poverty, blaming a “continuing cycle of neglect and discrimination” designed to secure Jerusalem for the Israel majority in the city.

Nearly half (47.7%) of Jewish children in the city also live in poverty, the report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said.

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