The Orient House

12 July 2005

Israeli policies in Jerusalem are endangering the two state solution
Following the recent decision made by the Israeli Government to accelerate the construction of the separation wall in and around Jerusalem, and noting the first anniversary of the ICJ's ruling of the illegality of the wall and its call upon the Government of Israel to dismantle it, the Orient House stresses the following:

With the attention of the regional and international community focused on Israel's unilateral plan to disengage from the Gaza Strip, the Israeli government has seized the opportunity to consolidate its interests in Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem. It is accelerating a policy of creating facts on the ground that will irrevocably ensure exclusive Israeli control over Jerusalem by enveloping the city with colony blocks and imposing a siege of bypass roads and the separation wall on it. All come in violation of International Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Israel continues its plan to close off East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, dividing the northern and southern West Bank, and circumventing Palestinian habitation areas. It is incapacitating Palestinian urban development prospects in East Jerusalem and the surrounding neighbouring Palestinian urban centres of Ramallah and Bethlehem. It is clear that these Israeli policies come in an attempt to severe the viability of the future Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

This separation wall, which is built within Occupied Palestinian Territory, will effectively serve as a means by which Israel de facto annexes approximately 4.1% of the Occupied West Bank (234 km2) in and around Occupied East Jerusalem. The wall will effectively enclose and isolate 254,000 Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem from each other; it will also serve to physically and functionally separate Jerusalem from the remainder of the Occupied West Bank. When completed, this wall will be more than 161 kilometers long around Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem.

The wall will further facilitate settlement expansion. This can be demonstrated by the approval of the Israeli government of building the wall around three settlement blocs around Palestinian Metropolitan Jerusalem. These settlement blocs are the Etzion Bloc in the south, the Adumim Bloc in the east, and the Givon Bloc in the North. Thus continuing with the Settlement expansion policy, and while the world is talking about the need for contiguity and viability of the Palestinian state, Israeli policies are focused on connecting these Blocs with each other, thus creating contiguous settlement Blocs in and around Jerusalem. Under this situation the Palestinians will live in a situation marred by ambiguity and fragility as they will be denied their livelihood and the freedom to reach the necessary social services like health and education.

Israel is in the final stage of imposing its control on Jerusalem and its surroundings which will increase the already mounting anger within the Palestinian, Arabic and Islamic public opinion and endanger the stability of the region.

The Orient House reiterates:

  1. That Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. The Orient House commit itself to continue resisting the Israeli policies in 'Israelising' the Holy City and ending the Palestinian dream of self determination and creation of its State with Jerusalem as its capital.
  2. The importance of implementing developmental projects initiated by the Orient House following the vision of the late Faisal Husseini of having Jerusalem as a capital of two states and as a capital for the three monotheistic religions.
  3. The need to work and on all levels to reopen the Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, including the Orient House and the Chamber of Commerce which have been illegally occupied and closed for four years.
  4. The need to promote peaceful civil actions to face these policies and to bring back the attention of the international community to Jerusalem and expose the dangers of the Israeli policies on the prospects of peace and the internationally supported two state solution.

The Orient House calls upon the international community, their representatives and the international donor organizations to reject and rebuff the Israeli violations in Occupied Jerusalem and not to legitimize its effects, and to support the Palestinian people in their struggle to end the occupation and its right for self determination and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.


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