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A Factual Look at Arab Development in Jerusalem

Rapid Arab population growth in Jerusalem
Since the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, the Arab population of the city has grown rapidly, both in real and relative terms. In 1967, there were 68,600 Arabs living in Jerusalem, whereas in 1995, there were 174,400, a rise of 154%. By contrast, the Jewish population rose by 111%, from 197,700 in 1967 to 417,000 in 1995. The number of Arabs in Jerusalem has risen faster than the number of Jews in the city. In 1967, the city’s population consisted of 74.2% Jews and 25.8% Arabs. Currently, Jews comprise 70.5% of the population, a drop of 3.7%. Over the past 30 years, the Arab population of Jerusalem and its surroundings has increased more rapidly than during any other period this century. When the city was under Jordanian control, the number of Arab residents substantially diminished.

Number of Arab apartments has more than doubled
Over the past 30 years, the number of Arab-owned apartments in Jerusalem has risen significantly. In 1967, there were 12,200 Arab-owned apartments in eastern Jerusalem, whereas in 1995 there were 27,066 apartments, an increase of 15,000 or 122%. In the Jewish sector, there were 57,500 apartments in 1967 and 122,780 in 1995, an increase of 113.5%. Thus, the pace of development in the Arab sector has been higher than that of the Jewish sector.

Arab construction throughout eastern Jerusalem
Arab residents have been building widely throughout the neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem. Between 1971 and 1994, the Jerusalem Municipality granted permits for 1.1 million square meters of built area for residential purposes for Arab residents. Nearly half of all Arab construction is done without permits. The distribution of Arab construction has been as follows: 40% in neighborhoods surrounding the Old City (Issawiya, A-Tur, Silwan and Ras al-Amud); 30% in neighborhoods to the north of the Old City (Beit Hanina, Shuafat, Kafr Aqab and Semirmis); 20% in the southeastern part of the city (Arab A-Suahra, Sur Baher and Um Toba) and 10% in Beit Safafa in southern Jerusalem. As a result, there are now contiguous areas of Arab housing between Jerusalem and Ramallah/ el-Bireh to the north, and Bethlehem to the south.

Over 3,000 new Arab housing units recently approved
The building of homes for Jewish and Arab residents alike is essential for the continued development of Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently stated, “We are as committed to the Arab residents of Jerusalem as we are to providing for the Jewish residents… We will adapt the building plans to the needs of both populations.” In line with this policy, Israel has approved construction plans for 3,015 housing units in 10 Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, concomitantly with the approval of the Har Homa housing project.

Provided by the Israeli Government Press Office

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