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.
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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.
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This represents nearly a third of the city’s registered Arab residents, who in turn make up almost 40 percent of its population of 804,400, the Central Bureau of Statistics says.

CRIME AND POVERTY

But having marginalised these communities, there is no indication that Israel intends to relinquish control to the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in the adjacent, occupied West Bank.

Instead, through systematic neglect and curbs on Arab expansion, Israel is redrawing the city’s demographic balance in favour of Jews, some Israeli and Palestinian officials say.

“The current policies relating to these neighbourhoods are part of a political agenda, to try to prevent or at least postpone the day Palestinians become a majority,” said Meir Margalit, an outgoing city council member, who has worked closely with residents of majority-Arab East Jerusalem.

“It’s for demographic, not security reasons,” he said.

This has left residents trapped in a dysfunctional limbo. They pay municipal taxes which bring some health care and insurance benefits, but enjoy few city services, which means locals must burn their trash and dig their own sewers.

Unbridled crime, guns, drugs and unregulated building have sprung up in the absence of authority.

A near total lack of education, policing and planning by Israel in Jerusalem areas past the wall render them far worse off from the more central Arab neighborhoods, where poverty and employment already far exceed rates in Jewish ones.

Some 77 percent of Jerusalem’s non-Jewish households live beneath the poverty line against 25 percent of Jewish families, the United Nations said in a report in May.

West Jerusalem has 1,000 parks compared to just 45 in East Jerusalem, 34 swimming pools compared to three in the East, and 26 libraries compared to two in the East, the U.N. said.


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