Incredible Brutalities Inflicted Upon Palestinians By Israel's Zionist Rulers and Approved by
Pandering U.S. Politicians

Americans, be ashamed of what is being done in your name by your political leaders and politicians. And Americans, understand why decades of catastrophic attacks have been and are being inflicted upon U.S. targets by people capable of being outraged by what U.S. politicians are enabling by their support of one of the mot brutal and only currently invaded countries in the world.

The following factual accounts are from the Internet site of a Jewish group opposing these brutalities that are the joint efforts of militant Zionists and pandering U.S. politicians.

Remember, all of the following, and much more, have been approved, aided and abetted, by pandering U.S. politicians, including President Barack Obama, the presidents before him, and with even more vocal support by Republican presidential candidates!

After reading of these samples of brutalities, a person would have to be a literal moron to think that the militant Zionist government in Israel had any intention other than the annexation of Palestine to the pre-1967 Israel.

Sampling of atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza described in a 564-page United Nations Human Rights Commission report, the Goldstone Report. (Warning: long report.) Excerpts of that report reveals the atrocities aided and abetted by pandering U.S. politicians and presidents, and explains why people throughout the world want to kill Americans. These atrocities have been withheld from the American people by U.S. media people and media corporation through dumbing down with trivia.

Numerous Jewish groups, in Israel, in the United States, and throughout the world, have protested the invasion, occupation, colonization, brutality, of the Zionist politicians in control of Israel.


One of Dozens of Jewish Groups Opposing the Brutality by the Zionist Militants in
Control of Israel

Numerous Jewish groups, in Israel, in the United States, and throughout the world, continue to protest the invasion, occupation, colonization, and brutality, of the Zionist politicians in control of Israel. One of these groups is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (T'Tselem). www.btselem.org.

The following are some of the postings on their site about the endless human rights and criminal violations inflicted continually upon the invaded Palestinians during the past 40 years. These were made possible by the pandering U.S. leaders and politicians. Their description of the brutalities are toned down possibly due to sympathy for Israel's desire to annex the Palestine territory.

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Beating and Abuse of Palestinians by the Israeli Security Forces

Policemen Carry after he was allegedly beaten by Undercover policemen in East Jerusalem, Photo: Baz Ratner, Reuters, 9 Oct., 2009.Violence against Palestinians by Israeli security forces is not new; it has accompanied the occupation for many years. With the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada, however, a significant increase in the number of beatings and instances of abuse has occurred, in part because of increased friction between Palestinians and Israeli security forces. According to many testimonies given to B'Tselem and other human rights organizations, the [Israeli] security forces use violence, at times gross violence, against Palestinians unnecessarily and without justification.

Most cases involve a "small dose" of ill-treatment such as a slap, a kick, an insult, a pointless delay at checkpoints, or degrading treatment. These acts have become an integral part of Palestinian life in the Occupied Territories. From time to time, however, cases of severe brutality occur.

Many instances of abuse are not exposed because they have become the norm, and, for Palestinians, filing complaints is very time consuming. Furthermore, many Palestinians, primarily those who entered Israel without a permit, even refrain from filing complaints in cases of severe brutality because they fear that filing the complaint will only bring harm on themselves. Based on past experience, many do not file complaints because of lack of trust in the system - a system which tends not to believe them, and which tends to protect rather than prosecute those who injured them. The numerous restrictions on movement imposed by Israel in the Occupied Territories make it very difficult for Palestinians who want to file complaints to do so.

Israeli law, like international law, allows security forces to use reasonable force in self-defense and for duty-related purposes such as dispersing rioters, arresting suspects resisting arrest, and preventing a detainee from fleeing. The law does not, however, allow beatings, degradation, or ill-treatment of persons who are not rioting, resisting arrest, or fleeing. Also, the requirement that reasonable force be used in those instances where force is allowed demands that the measures taken be limited in severity to that which is necessary to prevent commission of the offense.

The acts described in testimonies given to B'Tselem and to other human rights organizations deviate greatly from what the law allows, and they constitute flagrant violations of human rights. In this context, an Israeli district court held that, "The exercise of illegal force by police officers is a phenomenon characteristic of regimes that are abhorrent, and undemocratic, of the kind that trample on human rights. It is misuse of the [police officer's] function."

Cases of beatings and abuse receive special condemnation. For example, the former Minister of Public Security, Shlomo Ben-Ami, stated: "I relate with great severity to brutality by police officers. I think that that, among the possible sins committed by the police, this is gravest, because the police cannot fight violence by employing violence against citizens." Regarding another incident, in which a soldier beat a settler from Kedumim, the IDF Spokesperson responded that, "The IDF views with great severity the case and violence by IDF soldiers."

These condemnations, however, remain solely declarative. Security forces, meanwhile, misusing their power, continue to abuse and beat Palestinians, among them minors. Both the army and the Border Police have yet to make it unequivocally clear to security forces serving in the Occupied Territories that it is absolutely forbidden to abuse and beat Palestinians, and their educational and information actions in this regard have been more lip service than a frank and honest attempt to uproot the phenomenon once and for all.

Until a few years ago, the Israel Police Force itself investigated claims of police brutality. In 1992, handling of these claims was transferred to the Department for the Investigation of Police (DIP) in the Ministry of Justice. B'Tselem forwards to the DIP testimonies it receives regarding police brutality against Palestinians and requests that the matters be investigated and that the offending police officers be prosecuted. In many cases, the DIP responds that the file is closed for reasons such as "offender unknown" or "insufficient proof." At times, the DIP decides to close a file following an incomplete investigation or when the complainant was unable to reach DIP offices to give testimony because the complainant's request to enter Israel was rejected. And in those cases in which police officers are prosecuted, they receive light sentences.

The defense establishment's refusal to issue a message of this kind to forces serving in the Occupied Territories has far-reaching consequences. If a message is sent to security forces, it is that even if the establishment does not accept acts of violence, it will not take measures against those who commit them. The effect of such a message is that the lives and dignity of Palestinians are meaningless and that security forces can continue, pursuant to the function they serve, to abuse, humiliate, and beat Palestinians with whom they come into contact.

Israel is the occupier in the Occupied Territories and as such is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the Palestinians who live there. To perform this function, B'Tselem urges the Israeli authorities to adopt, at least, the following measures:

  • Clarify unequivocally to all security forces serving in the Occupied Territories, through detailed education and information programs, the absolute prohibition on abusing and beating Palestinians, even when they ostensibly violate the law;
  • Seriously investigate every complaint filed by Palestinians regarding beatings and abuse by security forces;
  • Suspend, until the end of the investigation against them, police officers and soldiers suspected of using force, and where the investigation indicates that the complaint is justified, prosecute the offenders;
  • Require all security forces coming in contact with the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Territories to wear identification tags in Hebrew and Arabic to enable identification of those who used violence or otherwise violated the law.

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Demolition for alleged military purposes:

Background on Demolition for Alleged Military Purposes

 

Since the beginning of the al-Aqsa intifada, Israel has employed a policy of house demolition, uprooting of orchards, and destruction of farmland in the Gaza Strip. This policy has been used mostly in areas surrounding the settlements, on both sides of the bypass roads along which the settlers drive, and around army posts, mostly along the Egyptian border.

This policy is part of Israel's defense strategy in the Gaza Strip. The Chief of Staff had good reason to say that, 'The D-9 [a bulldozer] is a strategic weapon here.' As a safeguard against Palestinian attacks, Israel is creating 'security strips' around places where Israeli civilians or armed forces are located.

The houses are usually demolished at night, without giving the residents any warning. In certain cases, where there were exchanges of gunfire between Palestinians and Israeli forces, some residents left their homes and moved to safer dwellings. However, in most instances, some members of the family remained in their house to protect their property. Dozens of testimonies given to B'Tselem indicate that these residents were given no warning and were forced to flee after hearing the noise of tanks and bulldozers at their door. Their personal possessions were buried under the ruins.

Israel calls this policy "clearing," a name that conceals the destructive and long-term consequences for the Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip. Thousands of people have been made homeless and thousands have lost their sole source of income for many years to come. Israel caused this damage to people although it did not contend that they themselves were involved in attacks, or attempted attacks, against Israeli civilians or security forces.

The destruction of many hundreds of acres of agricultural land based on the claim that Palestinians fired from these lands, and the demolition of entire residential neighborhoods on the charge that some of them contained tunnels, constitute excessive injury to the civilian population. This action is illegal. Israel's policy, which is carried out against people whom Israel does not contend were involved in attacks on Israeli civilians or security forces, constitutes collective punishment. Despite these violations of international humanitarian law, Israel refuses to compensate Palestinians whose property was damaged in these actions.

Israel remains the occupier in the Occupied Territories. In this capacity, it must protect the safety and well-being of the Palestinian population and take Palestinian needs into account. Israel must, of course, protect Israeli civilians and soldiers, but it is not allowed to do that by causing such extensive harm to the Palestinian population.

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Human Shields

On 6 October 2005, the High Court of Justice ruled that it was illegal for the IDF to use Palestinian civilians during military actions. The decision was made on a petition that B'Tselem and six other human rights organizations filed in 2002. The petition followed the IDF's use of Palestinian civilians as human shields since the beginning of the second intifada, primarily during IDF operations carried out in Palestinian population centers, as occurred in Operation Defensive Shield.

Soldiers used to pick civilians at random and force the civilians to protect them by doing dangerous tasks. The method is the same each time: soldiers pick a civilian at random and force him to protect them by doing dangerous tasks that put his life at risk. For example, soldiers have ordered Palestinians to:

  • enter buildings to check if they are booby-trapped, or to remove the occupants
     
  • remove suspicious objects from roads used by the army.
     
  • stand inside houses where soldiers have set up military positions, so that Palestinians will not fire at the soldiers.
     
  • walk in front of soldiers to shield them from gunfire, while the soldiers hold a gun behind their backs and sometimes fire over their shoulders.

The soldiers in the field did not initiate this practice; rather, the order to use civilians as a means of protection was made by senior army officials. Despite the High Court's decision and army orders preceding and following it, security forces continue to use Palestinians as human shields. In 2007, for example, B'Tselem documented twelve such cases.

The IDF must act in accordance with the High Court's ruling, issue clear commands and briefings, and direct the commanders to transmit to their forces the absolute prohibition on use of Palestinians to carry out military assignments. Also, the Judge Advocate General's Office must open a Military Police investigation into every case of suspected violation of the prohibition, and prosecute every soldier, including the senior command echelon, if the findings of the investigation warrant it.

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Land Expropriation and Settlements

Ma'ale Adumim Settlement. Photo: Nir Shalev, 23 Dec. 2009.From 1967 to mid-2010, Israel established 121 settlements in the West Bank that were recognized by the Interior Ministry as “communities.” In addition, some 100 outposts (settlements built without official authorization but with support and assistance of government ministries). Furthermore, twelve neighborhoods that were established on land annexed by Israel in 1967 and made part of Jerusalem are deemed settlements under international law. The government has also funded and assisted in the establishment of a few settler enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, including in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrach, Mount of Olives, Ras al-‘Amud, Abu Dis, and Jabal al-Mukabber. Sixteen settlements that had been established in the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank were dismantled in 2005 in the course of implementing the disengagement plan.

Israel created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation and discrimination, with two separate systems of law in the same territory. One system, for the settlers, de facto annexes the settlements to Israel and grants settlers the rights of citizens of a democratic state. The other is a system of military law that systematically deprives Palestinian of their rights and denies them the ability to have any real effect on shaping the policy regarding the land space in which they live and with respect to their rights. These separate systems reinforce a regime in which rights depend on the national identity of the individual.

Under this regime, hundreds of thousands of dunams of land populated by Palestinians have been stolen. This land has been used to establish dozens of settlements and to populate them with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens. As a rule, Israel prevents Palestinians from entering these lands and using them. The existence of the settlements brings with it the violation of many human rights of Palestinians, including the right of property, the right to equality, the right to a suitable standard of living, and the right to freedom of movement. The extreme change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility to establish an independent, viable Palestinian state in the framework of exercising the right to self-determination.

The settlers, on the other hand, benefit from all rights given to citizens of Israel who live inside the Green Line, and in some instances, even additional rights. The great effort Israel has expended in the settlement enterprise - financially, legally, and bureaucratically - has turned the settlements into civilian enclaves within an area under military rule and has given the settlers a preferred status. To perpetuate this unlawful situation, Israel has continuously violated the Palestinians' human rights.

Especially conspicuous is Israel's manipulative use of the law to create a semblance of legality for the settlement enterprise. So long as Jordanian law assisted Israel in advancing its goals, it seized the argument that international law requires that an occupying state apply the law in effect in the territory prior to occupation, thus construing international law in a cynical and tendentious way. When Jordanian law was unfavorable for Israel, Israel did not hesitate to revoke it though military legislation and develop new rules to meet its ends. In doing so, Israel tramples on international agreements to which it is party - agreements which are intended to reduce human rights violations and protect people under occupation.

Because the very establishment of the settlements is illegal, and in light of the human rights violations resulting from the existence of the settlements, B'Tselem demands that Israel evacuate the settlements. The action must be done in a way that respects the settlers' human rights, including the payment of compensation.

Clearly, evacuation of the settlements will be complex and will take time; however there are intermediate steps that can be taken immediately so as to reduce, to the extent possible, human rights violations and breaches of international law. For example, the government should cease new construction in the settlements - both the building of new settlements and the expansion of existing settlements. It must also freeze the planning and building of new bypass roads and must cease expropriating and seizing land intended for the bypass roads. The government must return to Palestinian villages all the non-built-up land that was placed within the municipal jurisdiction of the settlements and the regional councils, eliminate the planning boards in the settlements, and, as a result thereof, revoke the power of the local authorities to draw up outline plans and grant building permits. Also, the government must cease the granting of incentives to encourage Israeli citizens to move to settlements and must make resources available to encourage settlers to move inside Israel's borders.

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Background on the Demolition of Houses as Punishment

Demolition of the Dwiyat family's house, East Jerusalem. Photo: Kareem Jubran, B'Tselem, 7 April 2009. On 17 February 2005, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz adopted an IDF committee's recommendation to stop demolishing the homes of Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis. The committee found that house demolitions are not an efficient deterrent.

Despite this decision, in 2009, Israel demolished one housing unit in East Jerusalem and sealed two.

Since 1967, Israel has implemented a policy of demolishing and sealing houses in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a punitive measure against the Palestinian population. The scope of punitive house demolitions has varied over the years (in the four-year period 1998-2001, it was not used), in part because most Palestinians were living in areas in which governing powers had been transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and the IDF did not enter those areas. In October 2001, during IDF actions in Area A in the West Bank, Israel renewed its policy of punitive house demolitions.

The declared objective of house demolitions was deterrence, achieved by harming the relatives of Palestinians who carried out, or were suspected of involvement in carrying out, attacks against Israeli citizens and soldiers. Indeed, the main victims of the demolitions were family members, among them women, the elderly, and children, who bore no responsibility for the acts of their relative and were not suspected of involvement in any offense. In the vast majority of house demolitions, the person because of whom the house was demolished no longer lived in the house, either because he was “wanted” by Israel and was in hiding, or because he was being held by Israel and was awaiting a long prison sentence, or because he had been killed by security forces or in the attack he carried out.

Israel tried to give the impression that it destroys only homes of Palestinians who were directly involved in attacks that caused many Israeli civilian casualties. In practice, the IDF also demolished homes of Palestinians who were involved in any kind of violent actions against Israelis, from suicide attacks that caused many casualties, to failed attempts against soldiers' lives. Also, not only did Israel demolish houses of persons suspected of carrying out attacks or of attempting to carry out attacks, it also demolished the house of Palestinians suspected of planning, dispatching, or assisting in the commission of attacks.

It should be mentioned that the deterrent effect of house demolitions has never been proven. In his book on the first intifada, Brigadier General Ariyeh Shalev examined the effect of house demolitions on the scope of violence. He found that the number of violent events did not diminish following house demolitions, and at times even rose. Similar findings were reached in an internal IDF report on house demolitions during the al-Aqsa intifada. In their book The Seventh War, journalists Amos Harel and Avi Isacharoff reported that the IDF report stated there was no proof of the deterrent effect of house demolitions, and that the number of attacks even rose a few months after implementation of the policy began. However, regardless of the deterrent effect, B'Tselem believes that the effectiveness of a particular measure does not make it legal.

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Encouragement of migration to the settlements

The Israeli governments have implemented a consistent and systematic policy intended to encourage Jewish citizens to migrate to the West Bank. One of the tools used to this end is to grant financial benefits and incentives to citizens - both directly and through the Jewish local authorities. The purpose of this support is to raise the standard of living of these citizens and to encourage migration to the West Bank.

Most of the settlements in the West Bank are defined as national priority areas (A class or B class). Accordingly, the settlers and other Israeli citizens working or investing in the settlements are entitled to significant financial benefits. These benefits are provided by eight government ministries: the Ministry of Construction and Housing (reduction of price of the land and generous loans for the purchase of apartments, part of which is converted to a grant); the Israel Lands Administration (significant price reductions in leasing land); the Ministry of Education (Compulsory Education Law from Age Three, the long school day, extension of the school year, incentives for teachers, and subsidized transportation to school); the ministries of industry and trade, tourism, and agriculture (grants for investors, development of infrastructure for industrial zones, indemnification for loss of income resulting from custom duties imposed by countries of the European Union); the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (incentives for social workers); and the Ministry of Finance (reductions in income tax for individuals and companies). In 2003, the Ministry of Finance cancelled the income tax reduction that residents of settlements previously received.

The Ministry of the Interior provides increased grants for the local authorities in the territories relative to those provided for communities within Israel. In the years 2000 to 2006, the average per capita grant in the settlements in the West Bank was approximately 57 percent higher than the average per capita grant in authorities inside Israel. According to the report of the accountant general in the Ministry of Finance, which summarizes the total budget transfers the state made to local authorities in 2007, the per capita support given to the three municipalities and six regional councils in the West Bank was significantly higher than the per capita support given to municipalities inside the Green Line.

One of the mechanisms used by the government to favor the Jewish local authorities in the West Bank, in comparison with local authorities inside Israel, is to channel funding through the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization. Although the entire budget of the Settlement Division comes from state funds, as a non-governmental body it is not subject to the rules applying to government ministries in Israel.

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The Scope of Israeli Control in the Gaza Strip

Israel continues to hold decisive control over important elements of Palestinian life in the Gaza Strip, as follows:
  1. Crossing of people: Israel continues to maintain complete control of its border crossings with the Gaza Strip, and the air and sea space of the Gaza Strip. Until June 2006, it supervised movement of Palestinians via the Rafah Crossing on the Egyptian border. In June 2006, following the abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit, the Crossing Agreement ceased to exist, and the crossing remains closed most of the time. In June 2007, when Hamas assumed power in the Gaza Strip, Israel tightened its control of the crossings along its border and currently prevents persons from entering and exiting the area except in isolated cases it deems humanitarian. Egypt only enables persons to cross through Rafah Crossing.
     
  2. Crossing of goods: Israel continues to control the movement of goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. The three crossing points designated for this purpose - Karni, Sufa, and Kerem Shalom - are under Israel's sole control. Rafah Crossing has a terminal for the movement of goods, but under the Crossing Agreement, signed in November 2005 between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it may be used for export alone. In any event, the agreement has not been implemented since the abduction of the soldier Gilad Shalit, on 25 June 2006. Israel's frequent closing of the commercial crossings and the imposition and tightening of the siege, in June 2007 has economically paralyzed the Strip - 90 percent of the factories and thousands of businesses have closed down and tens of thousands of persons have lost their jobs. Closing of the crossings has led to a sharp drop in the availability of basic items, including food and medicines. The tunnel economy that has developed as a result of the siege enables the entry of goods that Israel prohibits, but is not a suitable substitute for economic activity in the Gaza Strip.
     
  3. Air space and territorial waters: Israel continues to maintain complete control over the air space and territorial waters of the Gaza Strip. Control of the air space enables Israel, among other things, to effectively and easily monitor actions on the ground such as interfering in aerial broadcasts, among them radio and television broadcasts. Israel has used its control of the waters off Gaza's coast to restrict fishing to only three nautical miles from shore. [instead of the 300-mile sovereignty limit which Israel claims] Israel does not permit the Palestinians to build a seaport or an airport in the Gaza Strip, impairing freedom of movement to and from the area and the Palestinians' ability to conduct foreign trade.

    "Foreign" residents, except those in a few categories, are only allowed to enter the Gaza Strip via the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings, which are under Israel 's sole control. Control over the entry of "foreigners" enables Israel to continue to control family unification between Gazans and their spouses who are foreign residents. Also, Israeli control plays a decisive role in social and economic systems, which rely on the presence of experts from abroad.
     
  4. Population registry: Israel continues to control the joint Gaza Strip-West Bank population registry. Formal authority for administering the population registry was transferred to the Palestinian Authority under the second Oslo Agreement of 1995, but Israel continued to hold certain veto powers, among them the right to determine whether Palestinian couples from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and their children over age 16 may receive Palestinian residency status. Under the agreement, the Palestinian side must inform Israel of changes it makes in the population registry, including each resident's place of residence. This situation did not change after implementation of the disengagement plan. Since 2000, Israel stopped updating its copy of the population registry and has not recognized changes made by the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, Israel has gradually made it harder for Palestinians listed as residents of Gaza in their identity cards to stay in the West Bank. This is true also for persons from Gaza who have lived in the West Bank for many years and established families there. As part of this policy, since 2007, Israel has demanded that these persons have a special permit, which is provided only if stringent conditions are met. Persons who do not have the permit are deemed to be staying illegally and are expelled to the Gaza Strip.
     
  5. The tax system: Israel continues to control the tax system of the Gaza Strip. Under the Paris Agreement (1994) between Israel and the PLO, Israel is responsible for setting the VAT and customs rates on goods intended for consumption in the Gaza Strip, collecting these taxes for the Palestinian Authority, and transferring the tax monies to the Palestinian Authority each month. These powers enable Israel to punish the Palestinian Authority by stopping the transfer of the tax revenues to it. Israel also controls the granting of exemptions from customs and VAT to non-profit humanitarian-aid organizations, which engage in vital humanitarian activity, for products and equipment donated to them from abroad. This power is extremely significant: if not granted the exemption, an organization would have to pay the taxes that the importer would have to pay when the goods enter the Gaza Strip at one of the crossing points controlled by Israel. With the imposition of the siege on Gaza, in June 2007, Israel blocked the customs code for the Strip in its government computer system. As a result, goods subject to customs are prevented from entering the Strip directly. Israel allows in only a limited number of imports, those it defines as humanitarian and thus exempt from customs duty.

[Note: remember the Gaza flotilla.]

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Revocation of Residency in East Jerusalem

Between December 1995 and March 2000, Israel used an additional method to attain its demographic objective. The Interior Ministry, which deals with the residency status of East Jerusalem's Palestinian residents, revoked residency from those who moved outside Jerusalem's municipal borders. Palestinians who were unable to prove that they had lived in Jerusalem in the past and continue to live there were compelled to leave their homes forever. They could not live or work in Israel and they and their families lost their social benefits. The Israeli authorities never announced this policy, and never warned Palestinians that by leaving Jerusalem they were jeopardizing their status and right to return to live in their homes in the city.

The policies of the Israeli government and the Jerusalem Municipality in a variety of spheres led thousands of Palestinians to leave the city, many to reside in Jerusalem's suburbs, others in the West Bank and Jordan. Until 1995, moving outside the city limits did not affect their status as permanent residents in Israel. They maintained this status as long as they returned to Jerusalem to renew their exit permits at the Ministry of the Interior, which regularly renewed the permits. Only a continued stay of more than seven years outside Jerusalem without having renewed their exit permits was liable to lead to revocation of residency status. Palestinians who moved to Jerusalem's suburbs or elsewhere in the West Bank did not require exit permits and could live there for years without it affecting their status.

In December 1995, without forewarning, the Ministry of the Interior changed its policy. The Ministry claimed that permanent residency, unlike citizenship, is a matter of the circumstances in which the individual lives, and when these circumstances change, the permit granting permanent residency expires. Thus, every Palestinian who lived outside the city for a number of years lost their right to live in the city, and the Ministry ordered them to leave their homes. The fact that they had returned to Jerusalem over the years and the Ministry regularly renewed their exit permits and granted them additional services was insignificant. The Ministry demanded proof that their "center of life" was in Jerusalem. The standard of proof was high, and the Ministry required that the individual provide numerous documents. According to official sources, permanent residency of more than 3,000 individuals "expired" since December 1995.

In March 2000, the Minster of the Interior, Natan Sharansky, submitted an affidavit to the High Court of Justice in which he stated that the "quiet deportation" policy would cease. The affidavit stated that the Ministry would return to operating according to the pre- December 1995 policy: all residents of East Jerusalem who renewed their exit permits on time would maintain their permanent residency status, even if they live in Jordan or in another country. Also, permanent residency status would not be revoked from Jerusalem residents who moved to Jerusalem's suburbs or elsewhere in the West Bank and do not require exit permits. The Minister also stated in his affidavit that residency would be returned to those whose status had been revoked, provided that they lived in Jerusalem for at least two years.

In addition, the Ministry reinstated the residency of hundreds of Palestinians whose residency had been revoked during the years that Israel implemented its revocation policy.

However, in recent years, the Ministry has once again begun to revoke permanent-residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians, raising the concern that, covertly and without warning, Israel has returned to the “quiet transfer” policy. According to official figures, in 2005, the Ministry revoked the residency of 222 Palestinians. In 2006, that number jumped to 1,363, an increase of more than 600 percent. In response to B'Tselem's inquiry, the Ministry stated that, in most of the cases, residency was revoked because the person had become a citizen or permanent resident of another country.

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Revocation of Social Rights and Health Insurance

An individual must be an "Israeli resident" to receive social benefits and health insurance from the National Insurance Institute. The NII holds the position that, unless proven otherwise, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are not residents, and that they in effect seek to take improper advantage of the state and benefit from its services without being lawfully entitled to them. The NII harbors particular suspicion against East Jerusalem residents who are married to non-resident Palestinians, and in almost every instance where such a resident submits a request for an allotment or for heath insurance, the NII investigates to verify that the applicant actually resides in Jerusalem. The investigation is made even if the question of residency was investigated a few months earlier and it was found that the applicant is indeed entitled to benefits.

The NII's basic assumption is false. According to figures that the NII provided to B'Tselem, the great majority (70 percent) of investigated claims is approved. The high percentage of approvals belies NII suspicions against residents of East Jerusalem and questions its policy of conducting an investigation in every case. Since most of the claims are approved and the claimant is considered a resident of Israel retroactively, in those cases at least, the claimant was illegally denied his or her rights.

The NII investigations breach principles of proper administration and grossly violate the rights of the residents. The investigations are superficial, deny the individual's right to due process and privacy, and are motivated by pre-conceived notions of behavior in Palestinian society. The investigation takes months, during which the claimant does not receive the applied-for allotment or health insurance.

The NII also investigates eligibility for health insurance although the law does not authorize it to make these investigations. Here, too, the investigation can take many months, during which the applicant is not insured. Since the claim for health insurance is granted in most cases, during the prolonged period of investigation these claimants are denied their entitlement to health insurance. Denial of health insurance to a resident of Israel violates the law. The NII also conducts these investigations where the individual is already insured but wants to register his or her minor children in a Health Fund. According to law, where the parents are recognized as residents, their children are also recognized as residents. The additional investigation in these cases leads to children remaining without health insurance until completion of the investigation. Physicians for Human Rights estimate that there are currently some 10,000 children residing in East Jerusalem who are not covered by medical insurance.

In implementing this policy, the NII assists Israel in attaining its goal of reducing the number of Palestinians living in Jerusalem. Thus, the NII, instead of promoting a social policy and providing health insurance, has become a tool to advance illegitimate political objectives.

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Discrimination in Planning, Building, and Land Expropriation in East Jerusalem

The planning policy in East Jerusalem since its annexation in 1967 is affected by political considerations and infected by systematic discrimination against the Palestinians living there. While extensive building and enormous budget allocations have been the rule in Jewish neighborhoods, the Israeli government has choked development and building for the Palestinian population.

In June 1967, Israel annexed 70,500 dunams [4 dunams = 1 acre] of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and incorporated them within Jerusalem's borders. From this annexed territory, Israel has expropriated about one-third of the annexed territory - 24,000 dunams - most of it privately-owned Arab property. Israel used this expropriated land for residential construction. By the end of 2001, 46,978 housing units had been built for Jews on this land, but not one unit for Palestinians who constitute one-third of the city's population.

At the same time, Israel choked construction in Palestinian neighborhoods and restricted new construction. Immediately upon annexation of East Jerusalem, and contrary to its actions in the rest of the West Bank, the Jordanian outline plans were nullified, thus creating a planning void that took a long time to fill. In the first decade following annexation, construction was only allowed ad hoc in a few areas in East Jerusalem.

Much land surrounding Palestinian villages and neighborhoods was expropriated to build Jewish neighborhoods, leaving no room for Palestinian construction. The Jerusalem Municipality did not establish outline plans for the Palestinian areas. The few plans that were approved were primarily intended to prevent new construction by declaring broad expanses of land as “green areas,” restricting the building percentages on the lots, and setting narrow borders.

In the early 1980s, the Jerusalem Municipality began to prepare outline plans for all the Palestinian neighborhoods. Most of the plans are complete, and others are in the process of planning and approval. The most conspicuous feature of these outline plans is the vast amount (some 40 percent) of area that is designated as “open landscape areas,” on which building is forbidden. In the plans that were approved prior to the end of 1999, only some 5,100 dunams (constituting 11 percent of the land in East Jerusalem, after the expropriation of 24,000 dunams mentioned above) were available for construction for the Palestinian population. As is the case with the demarcation plans existing in the West Bank, construction is allowed primarily in built-up areas.

The consequences of this policy are evident in Palestinian neighborhoods. For example, at the end of 2002, housing density in Arab neighborhoods was almost twice that of Jewish neighborhoods, 11.9 square meters per person compared to 23.8 square meters per person. The existing situation has forced many Palestinians to build homes without first obtaining a building permit. The Jerusalem Municipality enforces the building laws on Palestinians much more stringently than on the Jewish population, even though the number of violations is much higher in the Jewish neighborhoods.

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The [Apartheid] Separation Barrier

The separation wall next to houses in the village. Photo: Eyal Hareuveni, B'Tselem, 5 November 2010. In June 2002, the government of Israel decided to erect a physical barrier to separate Israel and the West Bank, its declared objective being to prevent the uncontrolled entry of Palestinians into Israel. In most areas, the barrier is comprised of an electronic fence with dirt paths, barbed-wire fences, and trenches on both sides, at an average width of 60 meters. In some areas, the defense establishment decided to build a concrete wall six to eight meters high in place of the barrier. The length of the system – already built, under construction, or in planning – is 709 kilometers, a distance twice as long as the Green Line. [The apartheid wall It is now about 500 miles in length and 25 feet tall, funded by U.S. taxpayers, and worst in effect then the Berlin Wall built by the Soviets.]

Since the Cabinet's decision to build the Separation Barrier, Palestinians have filed dozens of petitions against the Barrier's route. In June 2004, the Supreme Court held, in the matter of a petition filed by a number of villages northwest of Jerusalem, that most of the route planned around these villages was illegal, and that the state must propose another route. In light of the judgment, Prime Minister Sharon directed the defense establishment to reconsider the route. A new route was proposed, and the Cabinet approved the amended route in February 2005.

In September 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that the state must alter the route around the Alfe Menashe settlement, which enveloped the Palestinian villages Wadi Rasha and Ras a-Tira. In September 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the state must alter the Barrier’s route around the village Bil’in, and thereby return to the village 700 dunams of land that had been taken to expand the Modi’in Illit settlement. Still, 1,500 dunams of Bil’in land remained on the western side of the Barrier.

Eighty-five percent of the amended route runs through the West Bank, and not along the Green Line. In areas where the Barrier has already been built, the extensive violations of human rights of Palestinians living nearby are evident. Further construction inside the West Bank, in accordance with the Cabinet's decision of February 2005, causes additional human rights violations affecting hundreds of thousands of local residents.

The construction of the barrier has brought new restrictions on movement for Palestinians living near the Barrier's route, in addition to the widespread restrictions that have been in place since the outbreak of the current intifada. Thousands of Palestinians have difficulty going to their fields and marketing their produce in other areas of the West Bank. The areas west of the Barrier are one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank, and the agriculture there generates, according to the World Bank, 8 percent of Palestinian agricultural production. The harm to the farming sector prevents Palestinian farmers from gaining additional income and prevents an increase in the number of Palestinians working in agriculture, which is a major sector of the Palestinian economy.

The restrictions on freedom of movement also impair access of rural Palestinians to hospitals in nearby towns, harm the educational system since many schools, primarily in rural areas, are dependent on teachers who live outside the community, and hamper family and social ties.

In early October 2003, the OC Central Command declared the area between the Separation Barrier in the northern section of the West Bank (Stage 1) and the Green Line a closed military area for an indefinite period of time. New directives stated that every Palestinian over the age of twelve living in the enclaves created in the closed area have to obtain a "permanent resident permit" from the Civil Administration to enable them to continue to live in their homes. Other residents of the West Bank have to obtain special permits to enter the area.

Israel has installed dozens of checkpoints and gates along the completed sections of the Barrier, through which permit holders are allowed to pass. However, requests of many Palestinians for permits to enter their land are rejected, either on grounds of security, or on the contention that the applicant has not provided sufficient proof of ownership of the land or family relation to the landowner. Moreover, a permit from the Civil Administration does not guarantee that the holder will be allowed to pass through the gate: when the army declares “total closures” on the Occupied Territories, the permits do not apply.

According to figures the state provided to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the number of permanent permits given to farmers living east of the Barrier to enable them to work their land west of the Barrier dropped by 83 percent from 2006 to 2009 (from 10,037 to only 1,640). During this period, the amount of Palestinian land west of the Barrier grew by 30 percent, and now stands at approximately 119,500 dunams.

In addition, many residents have to travel long distances, usually along unpaved roads, to get to their gate. The difficulty and expense in gaining access to their land have turned farming into an unfeasible venture, and many residents do not exercise their right to go to their land and work their primary source of livelihood.

In setting the Barrier's route, Israeli officials almost totally ignored the severe infringement of Palestinian human rights. The route was based on extraneous considerations completely unrelated to the security of Israeli citizens. A major aim in setting the route was de facto annexation of part of the West Bank: when the Barrier is completed, 9.5 percent of the West Bank, containing 60 settlements, will be situated on the western – the “Israeli” – side, and Israeli politicians already relate to the Barrier’s route as Israel’s future border.

Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens from attacks. However, the building of the Separation Barrier as a means to prevent attacks inside Israel is the most extreme solution that causes the greatest harm to the local population. Israel preferred this solution over alternate options that would cause less harm to the Palestinians. Even if we accept Israel 's claim that the only way to prevent attacks is to erect a barrier, it must be built along the Green Line or on Israeli territory.

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The government's plan calls for the separation barrier to surround East Jerusalem and detach it from the rest of the West Bank. The relevant decisions and approvals to begin construction were made in three principal stages:
  1. In June 2002, as part of the decision in principle to build the whole separation barrier, the government approved Stage A, which included two sections north and south of Jerusalem. The northern section extends for some ten kilometers from the Ofer army base on the west to the Qalandiya checkpoint on the east. The southern section, also about ten kilometers in length, runs from the Tunnels Road on the west to Beit Sahur (south of Har Homa) on the east. The two sections were completed in July 2003.
     
  2. In September 2003, the Political-Security Cabinet approved the barrier's route in the other areas around Jerusalem, except for the section near the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement. These approvals were made in the framework of construction of Stages 3 and 4 of the entire barrier. The approval related to three subsections. One section is seventeen kilometers long, extending from the eastern edge of Beit Sahur on the south to the eastern edge of al-'Eizariya on the north. The other section covers a distance of fourteen kilometers, from the southern edge of 'Anata to the Qalandiya checkpoint on the north. The third section is also fourteen kilometers and surrounds five villages northwest of Jerusalem (Bir-Nabala, al-Judeireh, al-Jib, Beit Hanina al-Balad, and Nebi Samuel), which are situated near the city's municipal border. Most of the barrier in these sections will be a wall. The progress in building these sections varies: some parts have been completed while in others work has not begun.
     
  3. In February 2005, the Israeli government approved an entirely new route for the barrier following the High Court of Justice's decision in June 2004 that voided a section of the barrier on the grounds that it disproportionately harmed Palestinians in the area. The amended route made significant changes in various areas, but in the Jerusalem area the route largely remained as it was, except for an addition of forty kilometers that will surround the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement and settlements near it (Kfar Adumim, Anatot, Nofei Prat, and Qedar). The government did not, however, approve commencement of work on this section and conditioned confirmation on "further legal approval".

The dominant principle in setting the route in the Jerusalem area is to run the route along the city's municipal border. In 1967, Israel annexed into Jerusalem substantial parts of the West Bank, a total of some 70,000 dunams [17,500 acres]. Some 220,000 Palestinians now live in these annexed areas. There are two sections in which the barrier does not run along the municipal border. One is in the Kufr 'Abeq neighborhood. The other is in the area of the Shu'afat refugee camp. These are separated from the rest of the city by the barrier even though they lie within the city's jurisdictional area.

Palestinian towns and villages (Ramallah and Bethlehem, for example) are situated not far from Jerusalem's border. These communities are home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have ties with Jerusalem. These ties with Jerusalem are especially close for residents of communities situated east of the city: a-Ram, Dahiyat al-Barid, Hizma, 'Anata, al-'Eizariya, Abu Dis, Sawahreh a-Sharqiya, and a-Sheikh Sa'ad (hereafter: "the suburbs"). The suburbs, with a population in excess of 100,000, are contiguous with the built-up area of neighborhoods inside Jerusalem. Until recently, the city's border had an inconsequential effect on the daily lives of the residents on both sides of the border. Residents of the suburbs who carry Palestinian identity cards officially need permits to enter East Jerusalem, but many routinely enter without a permit. Running the barrier along the municipal border completely ignores the fabric of life that has evolved over the years, and threatens to destroy it altogether:

  • In light of the housing shortage in East Jerusalem, over the years, tens of thousands of residents of East Jerusalem have moved to the suburbs. They still hold Israeli identity cards and receive many services in the city.
     
  • Thousands of children living in the suburbs study in schools in East Jerusalem, and many children living in Jerusalem study in schools outside the city. Similar reciprocal relations, albeit on a lesser scale, occur in higher education.
     
  • The suburbs do not have a single hospital. Most of the residents use hospitals and clinics in East Jerusalem. Women from the suburbs almost always give birth in Jerusalem hospitals because they would have to cross a staffed checkpoint (the "container" checkpoint and the Qalandiya checkpoint, respectively) to get to hospitals in Bethlehem and Ramallah, which may entail long delays.
     
  • A large proportion of the workforce in the suburbs is employed in Jerusalem, East and West. Shops, businesses, and factories in the suburbs rely on customers coming from Jerusalem. Many businesses have closed since construction on the barrier began.
     
  • Residents of East Jerusalem have close family and social relations with residents of the West Bank and with residents of the nearby communities in particular.

Israel contends that gates in the barriers will enable residents to cross from one side to the other and to maintain the existing fabric of life. However, experience regarding the operation of the gates in the northern West Bank section of the barrier raises grave doubts about the ability of the gates to provide a workable solution: crossing through the gate requires a permit, and many persons wanting to cross are listed as "prevented" for varied reasons; most of the gates are open only a few hours a day, far less than is needed to meet the residents' needs; residents must often wait a long time at the gates, sometimes because the gates do not open on time, and sometimes because of long lines.

Israeli officials state at every occasion that two considerations were instrumental in choosing the route: maintaining security and obstructing Palestinian life as little as possible. However, using the municipal border as the primary basis for determining the route is inconsistent with these two considerations. On the one hand, the route leaves more than 200,000 Palestinians, who identify with the struggle of their people, on the "Israeli" side of the barrier; on the other hand, the route separates Palestinians and curtails the existing fabric of life on both sides of the barrier.

The decision to run the barrier along the municipal border and the weak arguments given to explain that decision lead to the conclusion that the primary consideration was political: the unwillingness of the government to pay the political price for choosing a route that will contradict the myth, that "unified Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel."

B'Tselem believes that, in light of the way of life that has been created in large parts of the city since East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967, any security solution based on the unilateral construction of a physical barrier, including a barrier that runs along the Green Line, will severely violate human rights. Israel must meet its duty to protect its citizens and residents by other means - means which respect the human rights of all persons living in territory under its control.

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On 9 July 2004, the International Court of Justice, in The Hague, gave its advisory opinion on the question of the legality of the separation barrier being built by Israel. The opinion was given pursuant to the request of the UN General Assembly of 3 December 2004.

Israel refused to cooperate in the proceeding, contending that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter. In a document that it submitted to the court, Israel argued that the question involved was political and not legal, and should be dealt with bilaterally, between it and the Palestinians. In a majority decision, the court denied Israel's argument. In a minority opinion, one of the judges held that the court did not have sufficient information to render an opinion on the question, and thus lacked the authority to hear it. Before dealing with the substantive matters, the court explained that its opinion related only to those sections of the separation barrier that were built, or will be built outside the Green Line [in the Occupied Territories].

The first main issue discussed in the opinion relates to the effects of the barrier on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The court "recorded" the promise made by Israel that the barrier was intended only as a temporary security measure. However, the court pointed out that there is a grave fear that the barrier's route would create "facts on the ground" that lead to the de facto annexation of the territory and determination of the future borders between Israel and a Palestinian state. The court believed that de facto annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would violate the right to Palestinian self-determination.

The second major issue involved the legality of the barrier in light of international humanitarian law. The court rejected Israel's argument that the Fourth Geneva Convention does not apply in the Occupied Territories because the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were never part of a sovereign state. On this point, the court held that, insofar as the territories fell into Israel's hands as a result of war with two states that are party to the Convention, the state must exercise control over the said territory in accordance with the provisions of the Convention.

Specifically, the court found that the separation barrier is intended to assist the settlements, the establishment of which violates Article 49 of the Convention. Also, the court pointed out that the restrictions placed on the local population located between the barrier and the Green Line are liable to lead to abandonment of the land, which also constitutes a violation of Article 49. In addition, the opinion stated that taking control of private land to build the barrier injured private property owners, and thus violated Articles 46 and 52 of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The third major issue that the court dealt with involved the legality of the barrier under international human rights law. In this context, the court stated unequivocally, and contrary to the position held by Israel, that international human rights law applies in its entirety in occupied territory, along with humanitarian law. The court ruled that the separation barrier violates rights set forth in conventions to which Israel is party. The court mentioned the rights to freedom of movement and the right against invasion of privacy of home and family, which are enshrined in Articles 12 and 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the right to work, to an adequate standard of living, health, and education, which are enshrined in Articles 6, 11, 12, and 13 of the International covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.

It should be mentioned that the opinion dealt briefly with Israel's argument that violation of these rights is justified under international law because they are intended for legitimate security purposes. The court stated that Israel has the right and duty to protect its citizens against violence, but its defensive actions must comply with international law. The brief discussion on the possible security justifications for the route of the barrier resulted, in part, from Israel's refusal to present its arguments to the court, and from its decision to suffice with a written statement contending the court lacked jurisdiction.

In its conclusion, the court stated that Israel must cease construction of the barrier, dismantle the parts of the barrier that were built inside the West Bank, revoke the orders issued relating to its construction, and compensate the Palestinians who suffered losses as a result of the barrier. The court also called on the international community to refrain from assisting in maintaining the unlawful situation that has arisen following construction of the barrier, and to take legal measures to cease Israel's violations and to ensure enforcement of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

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On 26 February 2004, residents of several villages northwest of Jerusalem, among them Beit Sourik, petitioned the High Court of Justice in opposition to the route of the Separation Barrier planned for their area. The Council for Peace and Security (an Israeli NGO) joined the petitioners and submitted an opinion regarding the route set by the defense establishment, and suggested an alternate route closer to the Green Line that would significantly reduce the injury to the local residents.

The High Court gave its decision on 30 June 2004. The three justices - President Aharon Barak, Eliahu Matza, and Mishel Heshin - held that thirty of the forty kilometers of the barrier's route involved in the petition (the area between Givat Ze'ev and Maccabim) was illegal and that the state must change the route. The judgment discussed at length two questions: whether the military commander had the power to seize private land to build the Separation Barrier, and whether the barrier's route in the relevant section was lawfully set.

In examining these questions, the justices discussed reasons that could provide the legal basis for actions to be taken by the defense establishment in building the barrier. The Court assumed that the West Bank is occupied territory, subject to international humanitarian law: the Hague Regulations, of 1907, and the humanitarian provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention (as defined by Israel). On this point, the justices held:

We accept that the military commander cannot order the construction of the separation fence if his reasons are political. The separation fence cannot be motivated by a desire to "annex" territories to the State of Israel. Indeed, the military commander of territory held in belligerent occupation must balance between the needs of the army on one hand, and the needs of the local inhabitants on the other. In the framework of this delicate balance, there is no room for an additional system of considerations, whether they be political considerations, the annexation of territory, or the establishment of the permanent borders of the state. (Par. 27)

Based on this determination, the justices found that "construction of the fence comes within this framework," in that the decision was made in light of legitimate military needs. However, as it has done for many years, the justices ignored the case law on the question of the illegality, in international law, of the settlements that Israel established in the West Bank. Thus, the High Court did not examine the effect of this illegal action on the legitimacy of the considerations underlying construction of the barrier.

According to the judgment, the fact that the barrier is motivated by legitimate security concerns does not release the military commander from his duty to choose a "proportionate" route that balances between security and the inhabitants' needs. The judgment states that most of the route in the area under review is disproportionate because it severely impairs the residents' fabric of life:

The injury caused by the separation fence is not restricted to the lands of the inhabitants and to their access to these lands. The injury is of far wider a scope. It strikes across the fabric of life of the entire population. In many locations, the separation fence passes right by their homes. In certain places (like Beit Sourik), the separation fence surrounds the village from the west, the south, and the east. (Part. 94)

After the High Court gave its decision, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon directed the defense establishment to review the entire route of the Separation Barrier and to conform it to the spirit of the Court's judgment. The new route, which was proposed by the defense establishment in September 2004, was approved by the Cabinet on 20 February 2005.

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Since East Jerusalem was annexed in 1967, the government of Israel's primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city. To achieve this goal, the government has been taking actions to increase the number of Jews, and reduce the number of Palestinians, living in the city.

In 2009, the population of Jerusalem stood at 773,000: 497,000 Jews and others (64.3 percent) and 276,000 Palestinians (35.7 percent). About 60.4% percent of the residents live on land that was annexed in 1967 (40 percent of whom are Jews, and 60 percent Palestinians). With the Palestinians having a higher growth rate than the Jews, Israel has used various methods to achieve its goal:

  • Physically isolating East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, in part by building the separation barrier;
     
  • Discriminating in land expropriation, planning, and building, and demolition of houses;
     
  • Revoking residency and social benefits of Palestinians who stay abroad for at least seven years, or who are unable to prove that their center of life is in Jerusalem;
     
  • Unfairly dividing the budget between the two parts of the city, with harmful effects on infrastructure and services in East Jerusalem.

Israel's policy gravely infringes the rights of residents of East Jerusalem and flagrantly breaches international law.

East Jerusalem is occupied territory. Therefore, it is subject, as is the rest of the West Bank, to the provisions of international humanitarian law that relate to occupied territory. The annexation of East Jerusalem breaches international law, which prohibits unilateral annexation. For this reason, the international community, including the United States, does not recognize the annexation of East Jerusalem.

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The government's plan calls for the separation barrier to surround East Jerusalem and detach it from the rest of the West Bank. The relevant decisions and approvals to begin construction were made in three principal stages:
  1. In June 2002, as part of the decision in principle to build the whole separation barrier, the government approved Stage A, which included two sections north and south of Jerusalem. The northern section extends for some ten kilometers from the Ofer army base on the west to the Qalandiya checkpoint on the east. The southern section, also about ten kilometers in length, runs from the Tunnels Road on the west to Beit Sahur (south of Har Homa) on the east. The two sections were completed in July 2003.
     
  2. In September 2003, the Political-Security Cabinet approved the barrier's route in the other areas around Jerusalem, except for the section near the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement. These approvals were made in the framework of construction of Stages 3 and 4 of the entire barrier. The approval related to three subsections. One section is seventeen kilometers long, extending from the eastern edge of Beit Sahur on the south to the eastern edge of al-'Eizariya on the north. The other section covers a distance of fourteen kilometers, from the southern edge of 'Anata to the Qalandiya checkpoint on the north. The third section is also fourteen kilometers and surrounds five villages northwest of Jerusalem (Bir-Nabala, al-Judeireh, al-Jib, Beit Hanina al-Balad, and Nebi Samuel), which are situated near the city's municipal border. Most of the barrier in these sections will be a wall. The progress in building these sections varies: some parts have been completed while in others work has not begun.
     
  3. In February 2005, the Israeli government approved an entirely new route for the barrier following the High Court of Justice's decision in June 2004 that voided a section of the barrier on the grounds that it disproportionately harmed Palestinians in the area. The amended route made significant changes in various areas, but in the Jerusalem area the route largely remained as it was, except for an addition of forty kilometers that will surround the Ma'aleh Adumim settlement and settlements near it (Kfar Adumim, Anatot, Nofei Prat, and Qedar). The government did not, however, approve commencement of work on this section and conditioned confirmation on "further legal approval".

The dominant principle in setting the route in the Jerusalem area is to run the route along the city's municipal border. In 1967, Israel annexed into Jerusalem substantial parts of the West Bank, a total of some 70,000 dunams [17,500 acres]. Some 220,000 Palestinians now live in these annexed areas. There are two sections in which the barrier does not run along the municipal border. One is in the Kufr 'Abeq neighborhood. The other is in the area of the Shu'afat refugee camp. These are separated from the rest of the city by the barrier even though they lie within the city's jurisdictional area.

Palestinian towns and villages (Ramallah and Bethlehem, for example) are situated not far from Jerusalem's border. These communities are home to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who have ties with Jerusalem. These ties with Jerusalem are especially close for residents of communities situated east of the city: a-Ram, Dahiyat al-Barid, Hizma, 'Anata, al-'Eizariya, Abu Dis, Sawahreh a-Sharqiya, and a-Sheikh Sa'ad (hereafter: "the suburbs"). The suburbs, with a population in excess of 100,000, are contiguous with the built-up area of neighborhoods inside Jerusalem. Until recently, the city's border had an inconsequential effect on the daily lives of the residents on both sides of the border. Residents of the suburbs who carry Palestinian identity cards officially need permits to enter East Jerusalem, but many routinely enter without a permit. Running the barrier along the municipal border completely ignores the fabric of life that has evolved over the years, and threatens to destroy it altogether:

  • In light of the housing shortage in East Jerusalem, over the years, tens of thousands of residents of East Jerusalem have moved to the suburbs. They still hold Israeli identity cards and receive many services in the city.
     
  • Thousands of children living in the suburbs study in schools in East Jerusalem, and many children living in Jerusalem study in schools outside the city. Similar reciprocal relations, albeit on a lesser scale, occur in higher education.
     
  • The suburbs do not have a single hospital. Most of the residents use hospitals and clinics in East Jerusalem. Women from the suburbs almost always give birth in Jerusalem hospitals because they would have to cross a staffed checkpoint (the "container" checkpoint and the Qalandiya checkpoint, respectively) to get to hospitals in Bethlehem and Ramallah, which may entail long delays.
     
  • A large proportion of the workforce in the suburbs is employed in Jerusalem, East and West. Shops, businesses, and factories in the suburbs rely on customers coming from Jerusalem. Many businesses have closed since construction on the barrier began.
     
  • Residents of East Jerusalem have close family and social relations with residents of the West Bank and with residents of the nearby communities in particular.

Israel contends that gates in the barriers will enable residents to cross from one side to the other and to maintain the existing fabric of life. However, experience regarding the operation of the gates in the northern West Bank section of the barrier raises grave doubts about the ability of the gates to provide a workable solution: crossing through the gate requires a permit, and many persons wanting to cross are listed as "prevented" for varied reasons; most of the gates are open only a few hours a day, far less than is needed to meet the residents' needs; residents must often wait a long time at the gates, sometimes because the gates do not open on time, and sometimes because of long lines.

Israeli officials state at every occasion that two considerations were instrumental in choosing the route: maintaining security and obstructing Palestinian life as little as possible. However, using the municipal border as the primary basis for determining the route is inconsistent with these two considerations. On the one hand, the route leaves more than 200,000 Palestinians, who identify with the struggle of their people, on the "Israeli" side of the barrier; on the other hand, the route separates Palestinians and curtails the existing fabric of life on both sides of the barrier.

The decision to run the barrier along the municipal border and the weak arguments given to explain that decision lead to the conclusion that the primary consideration was political: the unwillingness of the government to pay the political price for choosing a route that will contradict the myth, that "unified Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel."

B'Tselem believes that, in light of the way of life that has been created in large parts of the city since East Jerusalem was annexed by Israel in 1967, any security solution based on the unilateral construction of a physical barrier, including a barrier that runs along the Green Line, will severely violate human rights. Israel must meet its duty to protect its citizens and residents by other means - means which respect the human rights of all persons living in territory under its control.

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The Separation Barrier surrounding a-Ram

On 13 December 2006, the High Court of Justice rejected the petition filed by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the human rights organization Bimkom against the section of the separation barrier that severs the Palestinian community a-Ram from East Jerusalem .

A-Ram lies northeast of Jerusalem, just outside the city's municipal border. The village is part of the built-up urban area of Jerusalem: the Atarot industrial zone and the Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina lie to the west, and the Neve Ya'akov settlement borders it on the south. To the north is the Qalandiya refugee camp, most of which lies outside the Jerusalem municipal boundary.

The separation barrier under construction will surround a-Ram on three sides. West of the village, Israel has completed a wall eight meters high, along the main road to Ramallah. To the south, a wall is planned a distance of several hundred meters from the municipal boundary, separating part of the neighborhood Dahiyat al-Barid, in the south of a-Ram, from the rest of the village. The wall will stretch between the residents' houses and the northwest edge of Neve Ya'akov. From there, the barrier will run north and surround a-Ram almost completely from the east, separating the community from the empty space between it and Neve Ya'akov. This section is presently being built. No barrier is planned north of a-Ram, on the cliff on which the community is located, and which overlooks Route 45, the road that links the settlements in this area with Jerusalem (via the Begin Highway) and the coastal plain (via Route 443).

The head of the a-Ram village council estimates that 58,000 people live in the village. More than half of them hold Israeli identity cards. The residents have extensive economic, educational, health and family relations with East Jerusalem residents and institutions. Since the barrier's construction began, several thousand residents with Israeli identity cards have moved to East Jerusalem.

The barrier will severely hamper access to schools. Twenty thousand students, 4,000 of them from East Jerusalem, currently study in schools in a-Ram. Some of the teachers come from East Jerusalem, and others from nearby Palestinian villages. Five thousand students living in a-Ram and holding Israel identity cards study in schools in East Jerusalem, primarily in Beit Hanina and Shu'afat. The barrier will also obstruct higher education. A-Ram has one college, with 700 students from the community and surrounding areas. Most of the college students who live in a-Ram study outside the village, and will have difficulty reaching their schools once the barrier is built.

Access of residents of a-Ram to hospitals and medical clinics will also be affected. Medical services are almost non-existent in a-Ram, and most of the residents use the hospitals and clinics in East Jerusalem. Several thousand residents of a-Ram suffer from chronic illnesses (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disorders, cancer, kidney disorders) and require treatment a few times a week. Ninety-five percent of women from a-Ram give birth in Jerusalem hospitals (some in hospitals in West Jerusalem). Eight thousand children from a-Ram receive their immunization shots in Jerusalem. Also, some of the 1,500 disabled children living in a-Ram are treated in the Disability Fitness Center in Qalandia, which is located northwest of a-Ram.

The barrier will also affect the livelihood of residents of a-Ram. Most of the labor force in the village works in Jerusalem and at other locations in Israel. Palestinians without an Israel identity card or permit are not allowed to enter Jerusalem, and Israelis are not allowed to enter Area A of the West Bank. Because A-Ram is strategically located just outside Jerusalem and in the middle of the north-south axis of the West Bank, the village has become a lively commercial center. With the construction of the barrier, many shops and factories have closed, and others are expected to close because of the access and movement problems facing workers, customers, and transporters of goods and merchandise.

The harm suffered by residents of a-Ram has not resulted solely from its detachment from Jerusalem. It also results from its separation from five villages situated just to its west - Bir Nabala, al-Judeira, al-Jib, Beit Hanina al-Balad, and Nebi Samuel. These villages will be surrounded by the barrier and become a separate enclave. Residents of a-Ram have close social and family ties with residents of these villages. Bir Nebala, for example, lies only half a kilometer from a-Ram. A person can now go from one village to the other by crossing the Ramallah Road and passing through an opening in the wall. When the opening in the wall is closed, as called for in the plans, the residents will have to travel more than twenty kilometers via Ramallah to make the same journey.

Drawing of Jerusalem separation barrier.

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Nu'man, East Jerusalem -
Life under the Threat of Expulsion, September 2003

September 2003, Summary

Nu'man has some two hundred residents, who live in twenty-five houses. The village is located on the southeastern border of the Jerusalem Municipality, a few hundred meters north of Beit Sahur, which lies adjacent to Bethlehem. For several months, the two hundred residents of the village have been living under Israel's threat to expel them from their homes.

Palestinian settlement in Nu'man began during the 1930s. In the 1967 census, the residents of Nu'man were mistakenly recorded as residents of the West Bank and were given West Bank identity cards rather than the Israeli identity cards given to most Palestinians who lived in areas annexed by Israel. Over the years, village residents filed several requests with the Ministry of the Interior to arrange their status as residents of Jerusalem and to obtain Israeli identity cards. The Ministry has consistently denied these requests.

The Ministry of the Interior's refusal creates an impossible situation: residents of Nu'man are classified as "persons staying illegally" in their homes and in the village of their birth, and every contact with IDF soldiers or Border Police entails the risk of arrest or expulsion. As a result of this classification, they are not allowed to stay in neighborhoods and villages annexed into Jerusalem. Because the residents do not have Israeli identity cards, the Jerusalem Municipality refuses to supply vital services, such as water, a sewage system, and garbage collection, to the residents. The Municipality has also refrained from adopting an outline [zoning] plan for the village, thereby preventing the residents from obtaining building permits.

The villagers' freedom of movement has been significantly impaired over the past decade, primarily since the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifida. These restrictions are part of Israel's comprehensive policy in the Occupied Territories, which has critically impaired the living conditions in the Occupied Territories and led to an increase in poverty and unemployment. The village's proximity to Jerusalem harms the residents twice: firstly, by the checkpoints and roadblocks that Israel has set up to enforce the closure and prevent Palestinians from entering Israel, and secondly, by the checkpoints and roadblocks intended to prevent free movement between Palestinian towns and villages. The fact that Nu'man is small means that the residents rely on nearby villages for vital services and thus the restrictions on movement have a greater affect on their daily lives.

The separation barrier in the Jerusalem area, whose section along the southern border of the city has recently been completed, further aggravates the residents' problems. The barrier as it presently stands separates the village of Nu'man from Beit Sahur. Israel also plans to build a barrier east of the village that will likely sever Nu'man from the rest of the West Bank. Apparently, this plan is the reason for the decision to expel the residents from their homes. Even if the residents manage to prevent their expulsion, they will have to cope with the isolation forced on them by the barrier. In these circumstances, it is likely that sooner or later, the residents will be left no option but to leave the village.

The failure of the Ministry of the Interior and the Jerusalem Municipality to recognize the residents of Nu'man as residents of Jerusalem is part of the policy of all Israeli governments since 1967. The policy's goal is to maintain the "demographic balance" in Jerusalem, meaning that the percentage of Palestinians in the city must not be allowed to exceed a certain ceiling - formerly set at twenty-five percent and now thirty percent. To attain this goal, Israeli authorities have instituted a variety of measures intended to encourage Palestinians to leave the city, such as limiting the possibilities to build and freezing the family-unification process. It appears that in the case of Nu'man, this policy is being implemented in absolutely clear terms: by attempting to expel the residents by force


List of Documentary Books
On Endemic Corruption in the United States

   

   

   

     

   

   

 

All of the books are available at amazon.com, in print and on the Kindle, and at many other Internet sites. They bring together the various pieces of the puzzle to better understand the overall picture, and why the same conditions continue year after year. Information on the books by former government agent Rodney Stich

Sampling of early books reviews

Sampling of complimentary letters/faxes to author/activist Rodney Stich.


 

 

 

 

 

 

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