Sunday, 31 December 2017

East Jerusalem are cut off from each other

East Jerusalem are cut off from each other by checkpoints, the Annexation Wall, settlements and other barriers.11 Further, Israel regularly seals off these areas as a form of collective punishment. Limitations on movement and access extend to arbitrary restrictions on Palestinian Muslim and Christian holy sites, including during religious holidays. While recent attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound are considered as a spark for the current unrest, they are a routine part of Israel’s Jerusalem policy.

Palestinian Jerusalemites suffer these intolerable conditions in order to maintain their residency and access to the city of their birth. Even when these conditions are endured, threats of residency revocation by means     of Israel’s “center of life” policy,13 restrictive family unification, and other measures remain. Israel also uses other arbitrary actions resulting in forcible displacement from individual homes coupled with travel bans. Some Palestinians have received orders temporarily banning them from Jerusalem, where they were born and live. 14 Others have even been banned from being in the West Bank more broadly by Israeli authorities, essentially requiring relocation to Israel.

Israel’s East Jerusalem policy also aims at  crushing  Palestinian  political  and cultural life there. Israel has forced the closure of over 100 Palestinian social, cultural, and political institutions in Jerusalem since its occupation   in 1967. Some institutions currently experience frequent temporary closures, often when hosting political and national events. Most recently, the Palestinian National Theater “Al-Hakawati” is threatened with closure due to “municipal debts.”16  Israeli authorities regularly close down events  at Al-Hakawati.17 In addition to often banning public events that foster the Palestinian community, the Israeli government imposes Israeli-centered curriculums in most schools in East Jerusalem that omit recognition of Palestinian national identity, the occupation, and the Nakba, among other topics central to Palestinian history.

Palestinian political life in East Jerusalem has also been suppressed, especially by the closure of the Orient  House  in 2001, which  served  as  the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s headquarters in Jerusalem. In addition, there has been a clear attempt by Israel to deny Palestinian in East Jerusalem from exercising the fundamental rights of political participation and representation.18 For example, after being freely elected during the January 2006 elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, three East Jerusalem parliamentarians were arrested in June of 2006, and sentenced to prison time in an Israeli military court.19 A former minister for Jerusalem affairs in the Hamas government was also arrested.20 Immediately following the election and the parliamentarians’ refusal to step-down, the then-Israeli Minister of Interior announced his decision to revoke the four politicians’ permanent residency, for “breach of trust” on account of their membership with a Hamas affiliated political party.

In total, since Israel’s illegal annexation, Palestinians in East Jerusalem have lived in perpetual uncertainty and fear. Any questioning of or resistance to Israeli policy can lead to both community-wide and individual repercussions. The aforementioned practices, and countless others, form one Israeli policy toward Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Such a systematic deprivation of rights may amount to the crime against humanity of persecution under international criminal law.


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