The Orient House







20 September 2001


Israeli exclusive policies in Jerusalem  

continue unabated during the current Intifada


Since the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada on September 29 2000, Israel has not abstained from pursuing its demographically motivated exclusive policies toward the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem.


Following the massive house demolitions in Shu’afat refugee camp on 9 July 2001, where the Jerusalem Municipality destroyed 14 buildings with 25 housing units intended to provide living space for about 120 persons, more Palestinian homes are threatened with demolition. On the 3rd of September, an Israeli court decided to destroy one of seven houses outside Shu’afat refugee camp that have been threatened with demolition orders since the middle of July. Concerted legal efforts to appeal against the demolition of the house of Khader Abd al-Nabi Mohammad Ali were frustrated. Just recently, on September 10, two Palestinian houses were destroyed in Beit Hanina.


On Wednesday, 5 September 2001, European foreign representatives as well as members of Rabbis for Human Rights, LAW, Jerusalem Task Force and Meretz visited the Palestinian families, whose houses are threatened with demolition. All foreign representatives present expressed disapproval of and clearly condemned the Israeli policy of Palestinian property destruction. 


In addition to Palestinian property destruction, the Israeli government has intensified construction in settlements in the Occupied Territories, especially in Ras Al-Amud and Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa) where 2830 housing units had been approved by the Israeli government in March 2001. In a meeting with the Yesha Council of Jewish Settlements in the settlement of Ofra on 2 May 2001, Ariel Sharon stated that he would not accept the evacuation of a single settlement. According to unofficial sources, Israeli settlement movements plan to implant individual settlers in Ras Al Amoud as well as Jabal Abu Ghneim in the following weeks.


Despite Israel’s legal obligation as the occupying power under international humanitarian law to effectively implement the right to adequate housing for the civilian population under its control, the Israeli Municipality is pursuing under the pretext of “illegal construction” a policy of Palestinian property destruction. It is essential to bear in mind that the Israeli Municipality is pursuing its overriding policy imperative to increase the numbers of Israeli Jews, restrict those of Palestinian Arabs and consolidate its illegal annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem.


The reluctance of the US Administration to take a firmer stance toward Israel and given its continuous vetoing of Security Council resolutions that have the potential to provide legally required protection mechanisms guaranteeing a minimum of human rights standard for the civilian Palestinian population has left the Palestinians increasingly vulnerable to the unrestrained violence unleashed by the Israeli government. As a result of Israeli closure policies, the economic situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is constantly deteriorating. Furthermore, free access to Holy Places in Jerusalem is denied. Due to the illegal Israeli occupation of the Orient House and other socio-economic Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, Palestinian civilians have been deprived of essential social assistance required to fill the gap created by the systematic discrimination towards Palestinians by the Israeli Municipality.


It is high time that the international community realized and effectively transformed its stance against Israeli demographic and colonial policies into concrete actions. As long as Israeli colonial dwellings continue to be constructed and expanded, Palestinian property destroyed as well as internationally recognized Palestinian institutions illegally occupied, the underlying causes of the current Intifada are nourished and strengthened to an irreversible level of permanence resulting in the inevitable continuation of the conflict.



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