Monday, January 30, 2012

Home Demolitions Continue in East Jerusalem

Today, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reports that the Jerusalem Municipality demolished a residential caravan in Beitu Hanina and a room in a house near Shufat, the only refugee camp inside of Israel (although, coincidentally enough, lies on the West Bank side of the separation barrier.  That resulted in another 13 homeless Palestinians, who now wait for international charities to provide them with tents to sleep in.      

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On Wednesday, Jan. 25th, I posted that Silwan the Municipality of Jerusalem sought to turn the only (cement) "soccer field" in Silwan into a parking lot, but the request was rejected by a judge, citing the wishes of the inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Well, it seems the municipality figured out another way of taking over the soccer field.  Today, the front page of Ha'aretz online reports that Israeli police have taken over the soccer field -- and some 12 other institutions in East Jerusalem.  The police says that the soccer field (small cement yard) has been taken over by Hamas, which uses the site as a cover for the organization's activities in East Jerusalem.

The logic of the Israeli police would be laughable if it weren't so scary.  Their argument is that Hamas is gaining a footing in East Jerusalem by helping fund things like this soccer field, and it needs to be stopped.  Right, so by closing down the soccer field, all the children of Silwan will realize that, instead of spending their free time playing soccer, they should be memorizing Zionist folk songs and practicing their gurgling "resh," so that when they mature into adolescents and adults, they can join the ranks of Shabak or work for the Jewish National Fund.   

What's going to drive kids in East Jerusalem to Hamas is not a soccer field, its shutting down the soccer field!  I mean, even if you support the mission of the Israeli police, the idea is completely moronic. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Bird's Eye of 2010 in East Jerusalem

The following data is taken from the following UN report Israel: Assistance to the Palestinian people (A/63/75-E/2008/52) Compiled on 29 Jan 2012

I have noted some of the data that is especially pertinent to East Jerusalem below:

Eleven children were killed and 360 were injured as a result of the clashes. In September and October 2010 alone, 26 Palestinian children were injured and one 15-month-old baby died after inhaling tear  gas in occupied East Jerusalem; most cases involved private armed guards hired by the Ministry of Construction and Housing of Israel to protect Israeli settlers in the neighbourhood of Silwan (page 7)

A Palestinian family stands on top of the rubble of their home in Beit Hanina after it was destroyed by Israeli authorities on 13 July 2010. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)

In the first half of 2010, 46 residency permits for Palestinians in Jerusalem were revoked, adding to the 13,115 permits that had been revoked between 1967 and November 2009 (page 9)

At  least 431 Palestinian structures were demolished in occupied East Jerusalem and Area C9 in the West Bank, including 137 residential structures, displacing 594  people and affecting the livelihood of 14,136 others (page 8)

In 2010, settlers took over at least 10 Palestinian housing units in occupied East Jerusalem, leading to the eviction of at least 70 Palestinians (page 11)

Israeli settlers burned down a Palestinian church in occupied East Jerusalem  and three mosques in the West Bank. Six mosques were vandalized, set on fire or both by Israeli settlers during 2010, the fifth such occurrence that year (page 11)

Friday, January 27, 2012

More Home Demolition Orders issued in East Jerusalem

Dozens of Palestinian residents of Bir Ayyub and Hawsh al-A'war neighborhoods of Silwan, just South East of the Old City, were issued new orders today that their homes have been placed under a demolition order.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Silwan is a Palestinian neighborhood of Jerusalem just southeast of the old city.  It has increasingly become the target of Judaization efforts.  Today, the Municipality of Jerusalem sought to turn the only (cement) "soccer field" in Silwan into a parking lot, but the request was rejected by a judge, citing the wishes of the inhabitants of the neighborhood.

Israeli Government's Home Demolitions and Judaization of East Jerusalem are Destroying Israel

Israel is rapidly sowing the seeds of its own destruction. Land confiscation, house demolitions, destruction of Palestinian property, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem are proceeding at unprecedented levels in 2011 and 2012. 
What this means is that it may soon enough be physically impossible to share control of Jerusalem between Jews and Palestinians, and consequently, to solve the conflict by the estabilshment of an independent state of Palestine. Thus, the policies of terror and destruction adopted by the Israeli government and Jerusalem municipality may be scary for the Palestinians – but they should be even scarier for anyone who supports the idea of the Jewish state.     
Ruins of Destroyed ICAHD Peace Center, "Beit Arabiyya," in Anata, Jerusalem, on Tuesday, Jan. 24
Let’s take a look at some of the facts: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)reported that 2011 constituted “a record year of displacement,” with some 622 Palestinian structures demolished by Israeli authorities, 36% (or 222) of which were family homes. This means that a Palestinian home was destroyed four days out of every week this past year, resulting in some 1,094 displaced persons, double that of 2010. 
And yet, the destruction does not seem to be enough for Israeli politicians, who held a special session of the Knesset last week on how to better enforce Israeli law in East Jerusalem -- basically how to ensure more 'illegal' Palestinian structures in the East Jerusalem get destroyed. 
Of course, through an intricate system of zoning laws in East Jerusalem, “densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods are encircled by 'green space' or 'unzoned land' where building is forbidden.” ICAHD explains as well that per-plot housing density is also restricted, and is far lower in Palestinian than in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem. In other words, the Jerusalem municipality makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to build 'legally.'  
The demolitions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue in 2012 unabated. Just this past week, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished the Shepard’s Hotel in the Palestinian neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah – a property built in the 1930s by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, former Ottoman soldier, graduate of al-Azhar University, leader of the dominant Husseini faction in Palestinian national politics during the British Mandate period, and former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. (Of course, if you read the Western media, all you will learn is that he allied with the Nazis during World War II). The Jerusalem Municipality then sold the property to Irvin Moskovitz, who will build some 20 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the heart of Arab East Jerusalem.
The Shepard’s hotel destruction may have been the most high-profile, but the Israeli's policy of home demolitions is moving fast apace. On Monday night, January 23, the Israelis demolished for the fifth time the “Arabiyya house,” an ICAHD peace center, along with other structures in the East Anata Bedouin Compound.
Also this week, the Israeli authorities confiscated 76 dunams of agricultural land from the village of Khas, east of Bet Lehem, again under the pretext that it was "absentee property." The land will now be annexed to Jerusalem. One wonders why the people of Khas were "absent" from their agricultural land? The answer is that they were physically prevented from accessing their land since 2007 because Israel built a gigantic fence separating them from it.
The PLO also recently announced that, since the beginning of the year (i.e. some 3 weeks ago), 1,367 dunams of land have been taken over and 734 new housing units have been built.   
No Palestinian leader who wants to remain a Palestinian leader could possibly accept a Palestine without East Jerusalem as its capital (for better or worse). What this means, I think, is that the more Israel Judaizes East Jerusalem and the more Palestinian-owned land it confiscates – the more likely that the two-state solution becomes impossible. What’s left, for Palestinians, is equal rights inside Israel. That will be a scary day for people who hope Israel remains a Jewish state.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unprecedented Settlement Growth Expected in 2012

A new report from the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center indicates that 2012 will likely be a year of unprecedented growth in the settlements.  The Netanyahu government has stepped up its efforts to build thousands of new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Also this week, the Israeli authorities confiscated 76 dunams of agricultural land from the village of Khas, east of Bet Lehem, under the pretext that it was "absentee property," now to be annexed to Jerusalem.  Why is it that the people of Khas were "absent" from their agricultural land?  Well, they were prevented from accessing their land since 2007 because Israel built a gigantic fence separating them from it. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jerusalem Court freezes plans to construct a "national park" in al-Tur and al-Issawiya

The Jerusalem Central Court recently announced that it has frozen plans to construct a so-called "national park" in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods of at-Tur and al-Issawiya (on the eastern slopes of Mount Scopus).  The decision was prompted by a petition from The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, which argued that it is the right of those effected by the construction of the park to understand its significance, as well as the right to object to its construction.  The city has until the beginning of February to respond.

The land upon which the park would be built is owned by the residents of at-Tur and Issawiya.  The construction of the park, then, would in effect prevent the property owners from building on this land.  This is one of the many strategies adopted by the Jerusalem Municipality to prevent the Arab population of Jerusalem from expanding.  The other purpose of the constructing this "national park," as Terrestrial Jerusalem has pointed out, "is to be a link between the two concentric encirclements of Palestinian East Jerusalem: the inner encirclement of the Old City and its visual basin, as designated by the governmental Old City Basin Project, and the outer encirclement in Greater Jerusalem, as disclosed by the E-1 plan between Ma'ale Adumim and East Jerusalem.  The new national park will be a bridge, creating a geographical link between the Old City basin and E-1."