Updates

14 May, 2018

Special Feature

Certain targets in an unequal Jerusalem

Israel is taking aim at Palestinians in Jerusalem with discriminatory laws and practices.

05 July, 2018

Five things you can do for East Jerusalem

Educate yourself. Jerusalem is a deeply divided city with two distinct realities operating side by side. Few media sources are invested in telling the story of how Palestinians in East Jerusalem are being deprived of their rights and pushed out of the city. Accurate information is powerful! Follow @otherjerusalem for news, features, and updates. If you are new to the topic, get a jump on your journey with these Frequently Asked Questions.

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04 July, 2018

Five things you need to know about East Jerusalem

1. East Jerusalem is not inside Israel.
In 1967, Israel took over East Jerusalem by military force, including the Old City, Palestinian villages and refugee camps. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and declared a “unified Jerusalem,” but international bodies never recognized Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem. Under international law, East Jerusalem is occupied territory.

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04 July, 2018

Israel draws the curtain on Palestinian dance troupe

A youth dabka troupe performs on Al-Hakawati’s main stage in East Jerusalem. (Photo: courtesy of Al-Hakawati theater)
Nervous but exhilarated, Ghaleb Shaaban finished fastening the wide belt of his traditional costume. It was his frst big dabkeh performance, a folkloric stomping-based dance that is thought to have originated in old house buildings practices. While many dance dabkeh at weddings, tonight the dance would strike a different note, preserving a collective cultural history.
“When I’m on stage, I feel like I own the world,“ Ghaleb said. “I joined the group because I love dabkeh and love presenting my culture.”
He and the rest of the troupe had been practicing twice a week all year to synchronize their footwork and develop strong lines.
Family and friends had already started gathering the hall in late October 2017 to watch the 16-year-old perform. But when he headed for the stage, an armed member of the Israeli forces ordered him to leave the theater.
“When I saw the soldier, I went back to the changing room to put my regular clothes back on,” Ghaleb told Defense for Children International-Palestine.
“The soldier followed me into the changing room. He pulled me from the back of my neck so aggressively that my button ripped off,” Ghaleb said. “He ordered me to leave and pushed me out of the room.”

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03 July, 2018

How Israel misapplies its own youth law to Palestinian minors in East Jerusalem

Jerusalem, July 3, 2018—Israel is misapplying its own Youth Law when it comes to Palestinian minors. Ninety-eight percent of arrested Palestinian minors from East Jerusalem did not have a parent present during interrogation, according to documentation from Defense for Children International - Palestine.

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02 July, 2018

When you are in Kufr Aqab, you are in Jerusalem and outside of it

School girls cross a busy street in Kufr Aqab on May 25, 2018. (Photo: DCIP / Elia Ghorbiah)
The infamous metal cages of Qalandia checkpoint are part and parcel of Yara al-Bargouthi’s regular commute to her secondary school in Jerusalem.
“Everyday I wake up at around 5:20 a.m. I leave the house by 6 a.m. and head to Qalandia checkpoint,” said Yara to Defense for Children International - Palestine.
“Once we reach Qalandia checkpoint, we get off the first bus and enter the security checking area by foot. Then, we get on a bus again, on the other side of the checkpoint.”
Yara said that by the time she reaches school, all she wants to do is sleep.
This was not always the case for school children in Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood on the northeastern edge of Jerusalem. Most of the town’s land lies inside the city’s municipality.

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18 June, 2018

Scavenging for schools in East Jerusalem

School children on their way home pass Israeli riot police after a Palestinian teenager’s funeral near Silwan, East Jerusalem, May 14, 2011. (Photo: ActiveStills / Oren Ziv)
It’s a regular day at Al-Nithamieh Girls’ School in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. When a teacher calls for order, the students squeeze themselves into one of the school’s most overcrowded classrooms.
“Nadeen, Nadeen, move the book!” the teacher calls to a student. Schoolgirls instinctively pull books and papers off their desks as another girl scrambles across desktops to reach her seat. They are sardine-packed five to a table that is just wide enough to fit a textbook. Walking space between the desks is nonexistent.
The school is among eight recently visited by DCIP across East Jerusalem, six public and two private. Every administrator reported that they struggle with severe overcrowding and have done so for decades.
Jerusalem’s municipality estimates a shortfall of 2,000 classrooms for East Jerusalem students, rights group Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) reported. As a result, municipal public schools only serve 41 percent of the Palestinian student population, according to ACRI. And they are bursting at the seams.
In the tightest classroom at Al-Nithamieh Girls school, a 15-square-meter (161-square-foot) classroom holds 26 students and 1 teacher, yielding approximately half a square meter (6 square feet) per student.
Administrators told DCIP they are forced to turn new students away.
“I can't really say that I receive a good education, despite the teacher’s great efforts,” said Reem Ghuneimat, a 16-year-old student at the school. “The classroom is really not suitable. It’s a stressful environment because of overcrowding.”
Under international law, access to education is a human right for children. Israel, as the Occupying Power in East Jerusalem, must ensure this right for Palestinians there.
Israel does not deny responsibility for Palestinian children’s education in the city, either. Israel’s High Court of Justice in 2011 stated that both the Jerusalem Municipality and the state had repeatedly failed to build enough public school classrooms to serve East Jerusalem students, in violation of Palestinian children's’ right to education.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat famously called Jerusalem’s residents “ all my children” in a 2017 interview and pledged to “close gaps for all neighborhoods.”
So why are classrooms still so hard to come by?
Israel’s discriminatory development plans and budgeting toward the Palestinian education sector in East Jerusalem have effectively barred proper growth. As a result, Palestinian children end up in some mix of sub-optimal scenarios: packed into overflowing schools, studying in inadequate or unpermitted facilities, pushed into tuition-based schools, or out of education all together.

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12 June, 2018

How Palestinians born in Jerusalem lose their residency

Jerusalem, June 12, 2018—Most Palestinians in Jerusalem have permanent residency status in Jerusalem. Israel has continuously expanded the grounds on which this residency status can be revoked.

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18 May, 2018

A Question of Status

An Israeli anti-riot police sniper observes the surrounding from a wall of the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's old city, February 17, 2016. (Photo: ActiveStills / Oren Ziv)
Tourists flock to Jerusalem to be dazzled by ancient architecture, worship at sacred religious sites, and snap shots of iconic vistas. But few who visit could tell you what conditions Palestinians who live there are afforded, what budgets pave their roads and build their schools, or what policies come into force when their children are accused of running afoul of the law.
At the center of these questions lies the issue of status — the status of East Jerusalem and the Palestinians who live there.
In 1967, the Israeli military annexed East Jerusalem, in contravention of principles of international humanitarian law and international law, declaring a “unified Jerusalem.” The revered Old City and some 30 Palestinian villages were de facto annexed into Israel, and came under Israeli occupation.
The majority of Palestinians present in the city at the time were accorded the status of “permanent resident.” Palestinians from Jerusalem but not present at the time were not able to return, becoming refugees.
Permanent residency is the same status given to foreign nationals who want to reside in Israel. For Palestinians, the status comes with some benefits such as eligibility to vote in municipal elections, health care and greater theoretical protections under Israeli civilian law. However, this status does not provide the right to vote in Israeli parliamentary elections, despite taxation, nor is it automatically passed down to children.
While some Palestinians in Jerusalem do hold citizenship, the vast majority opt for permanent residency. International law still holds East Jerusalem to be under Israeli military occupation, and many see applying for citizenship as validating Israeli sovereignty over the occupied city. Those who do apply for Israeli citizenship only have a success rate of about 40 percent, according to Human Rights Watch.
What differentiates permanent residency from citizenship is that it can be revoked at any time, without due process or trial. It is essentially a provisional status, at the discretion of Israel’s Interior Ministry.

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14 May, 2018

Certain targets in an unequal Jerusalem

Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from exiting Al-Qattanin market on March 14, 2018, in the Old City of Jerusalem. (Photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh)

CHAPTER 1 Introduction

Tourists flock to Jerusalem to be dazzled by ancient architecture, worship at sacred religious sites, and snap shots of iconic vistas. But few who visit could tell you what conditions Palestinians who live there are afforded, what budgets pave their roads and build their schools, or what policies come into force when their children are accused of running afoul of the law.
At the center of these questions lies the issue of status — the status of East Jerusalem and the Palestinians who live there.
In 1967, the Israeli military annexed East Jerusalem, in contravention of principles of international humanitarian law and international law, declaring a “unified Jerusalem.” The revered Old City and some 30 Palestinian villages were de facto annexed into Israel, and came under Israeli occupation.
The majority of Palestinians present in the city at the time were accorded the status of “permanent resident.” Palestinians from Jerusalem but not present at the time were not able to return, becoming refugees.
Permanent residency is the same status given to foreign nationals who want to reside in Israel. For Palestinians, the status comes with some benefits such as eligibility to vote in municipal elections, health care and greater theoretical protections under Israeli civilian law. However, this status does not provide the right to vote in Israeli parliamentary elections, despite taxation, nor is it automatically passed down to children.
While some Palestinians in Jerusalem do hold citizenship, the vast majority opt for permanent residency. International law still holds East Jerusalem to be under Israeli military occupation, and many see applying for citizenship as validating Israeli sovereignty over the occupied city. Those who do apply for Israeli citizenship only have a success rate of about 40 percent, according to Human Rights Watch.
What differentiates permanent residency from citizenship is that it can be revoked at any time, without due process or trial. It is essentially a provisional status, at the discretion of Israel’s Interior Ministry.

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14 May, 2018

Palestinians live in a separate and unequal Jerusalem

Jerusalem, May 14, 2018—Mundubat will launch on Monday, May 14, The Other Jerusalem campaign, developed by Defense for Children International - Palestine, which seeks to challenge Israel’s prolonged occupation of East Jerusalem and the false notion of an “undivided Jerusalem.”
Palestinians in Jerusalem fear that Israel’s disregard for their rights will only increase, as the U.S. opens its embassy in Jerusalem after President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The campaign, supported by European Union funding, aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem by promoting awareness about this population’s plight under Israeli occupation.

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14 May, 2018

Drawn over and dug under, Silwan is a community at risk

Mohammad Abu Rmeileh, 17, stands inside his crumbling East Jerusalem family home on April 8, 2018. (Photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh)
Cracks mysteriously appeared one day in the walls of the Abu Rmeileh’s 21-year-old family home in the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem. At first the father of five, Ashraf, thought the cracks were from normal wear and tear. He made repairs. But months later, more cracks surfaced.
These spread and deepened, stretching out in long lines across whole rooms. The floor tiles, previously in a tight grid, began to buckle and pop loose.
“We used to hear drilling sounds,” Abu Rmeileh’s 17-year-old son, Mohammad, later told Defense for Children International - Palestine. “The situation was very worrying and frightening.”

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14 May, 2018

Israel's legal protection void for Palestinian children in Jerusalem

Mounted Israeli policemen disperse Palestinians at the end of the Ramadan fast, outside Jerusalem's old city, June 21, 2015. (Photo: ActiveStills / Oren Ziv)
The old stone walls of Mascobiyya detention center stand covered in barbed wire, wedged between the two realities of East and West Jerusalem. Palestinian teenager Mahdi Q. is sitting blindfolded and bound on the floor of an Israeli interrogation room. It’s 6 a.m. on a Tuesday.
He was detained from his bed two hours earlier, on November 14, 2017. “Israeli police forces stormed the house. I was shocked when they woke me up and ordered me to get up because they were going to arrest me,” Mahdi told Defense for Children International - Palestine.
“I changed my clothes very quickly and said goodbye to my family. They tied my hands with a single plastic cord and took me out of the house,” the boy said.
The police drove around the Palestinian Silwan neighborhood, located in East Jerusalem, for around an hour with the 14-year-old in the back seat before taking him to Mascobiyya. He would soon suffer physical abuse during a two-hour interrogation without the presence of a parent or lawyer, and spend 10 days in detention.

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