Israel's De Facto Partition of Jerusalem Creates Forgotten Arab Neighborhoods

Few Services, Rights or Hope for Areas Beyond Separation Wall

Separate and Unequal: Housing for Jews is taking up more and more of occupied East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, more Palestinians live in forgotten neighborhoods with few services and even fewer rights.
getty images
Separate and Unequal: Housing for Jews is taking up more and more of occupied East Jerusalem. Meanwhile, more Palestinians live in forgotten neighborhoods with few services and even fewer rights.

By Reuters

Published December 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Palestinian Sana Musa holds her 8-year old daughter Susann’s hand as they start the long trek home from school across a caged walkway through Israel’s concrete separation wall.

Just a short drive from the stone streets of the world-famous Old City, this is part of Jerusalem’s fractured landscape that no tour group would dare tread, where high-rise tower blocks are packed slapdash along rutted roads.

Marooned behind the wall but within city limits, the Shuafat refugee camp reveals Israel’s uneven treatment of Arab and Jewish neighbourhoods, creating a de facto partition of Jerusalem, which is the epicentre of the Middle East conflict.

“There aren’t even any school buses. It can take us as long as an hour to get home,” Musa said, her daughter’s pink sweatshirt disappearing past the metal turnstiles into the camp, which is fast developing into a lawless slum.

A two-minute drive away lies the massive Pisgat Ze’ev Jewish settlement, whose neat streets and sculpture garden are a parallel universe to the chaos of Shuafat.

“In the settlement they lack for nothing, life is easy. Here, we suffer,” said Musa. Susann goes to school beyond the wall in mainly Arab East Jerusalem and walks home through the checkpoint and the camp, where tens of thousands of people live. Shuafat backs onto the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, and, in a move not internationally recognised, annexed it. Palestinians want it to be the capital of their future state.

The Israeli government renewed U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians in July and the status of Jerusalem is likely to be a major stumbling block in the negotiations.

Rights groups estimate almost 100,000 Palestinians with ID papers from Jerusalem live beyond the separation wall - a barrier that started to go up almost a decade ago amid a wave of suicide attacks during a prolonged Palestinian uprising.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.