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Special Reports


MAY 1997
Palestine Ministry of Information
In a provocative speech delivered before the "Teachers' Body of Political and Economic Immunity," [Israeli] Minister of Interior Eli Suissa said: "Who ever wants to live in Jerusalem has to abide by Israeli laws and regulations and fulfill residency requirements. It also necessary to increase the Jewish majority in Jerusalem to more than 80%."

This statement is no surprise to those who are aware of the biography of this rightist hard-liner, settlements architect Eli Suissa and his zoning plans that have swallowed the land of the holy city during 30 years of occupation, when he was director of the Ministry of Interior's office in Arab East Jerusalem. What is also important to note is that Suissa himself lives in a house built on confiscated Palestinian land on Jabal Az-Zaytoun and what is called now "Beit-Auroun". As for the Palestinian Jerusalemite, he has no option, according to Suissa's announcements, but to yield to the occupation authority by giving up his land and properties in order to obtain the Israeli blue identity card. This identity card in addition to being a political tool closely connected to the Israeli strategic geographic and demographic goals, is also a sword at the necks of over more than 70 thousand Palestinian Jerusalemites who live outside the boundaries of the "Olmert municipality", and another 40 thousand who live abroad for work or study purposes. All of these measures came on the heels of the new decision issued recently by the High Court of Justice which legitimized measures taken by the Israeli Ministry of Interior utilizing "Center of Life" as a tool to deprive the Palestinian Jerusalemites from their citizenship and their right to live in the holy city.

Yunval Genbar, from B'tselem, disclosed the real Israeli intentions saying: "Israeli government has no need to hire planes and buses or to congregate military vehicles and trucks to transfer the Palestinians, for the Israeli administration has orchestrated a sophisticated system of collective deportation based on data information."  He added: "These measures are considered as firmly establishing discrimination practices against the Palestinian in comparison with Jews who are able to live outside the city and return to it whenever they want. This situation applies to Netanyahu personally, who was born in Jerusalem and lived in the USA for more than ten years."  The tight restrictions that were imposed on the Palestinian Jerusalemite has forced him to choose between improving his living conditions or fulfilling his residency stipulations according to Suissa and the Israeli administration. So he chose the first, not foreseeing what was awaiting him.

Since 1994, every Jerusalemite woman who is married to a man living in the West Bank or outside and could not obtain a unification permit for her husband, will lose her right to live in the city and accordingly her children who are registered in her identity card lose also this right, and the family has no option but to leave .

The Following ironic story is the best telling example:
"Suad Nemer, a Palestinian woman was born and lived in Jerusalem. She married her Jerusalemite relative who was working temporarily in Saudi Arabia and in 1994 returned to Jerusalem, where he was granted a temporary residency permit that authorized him to live and work in the city until completing all procedures to have the blue Israeli identity card issued to Palestinians living in Jerusalem. After renewing his residency permit numerous times, unexpectedly they refused to renew his permit and he received a notice to leave the city with his family in two weeks. The family has not found a place to go to.

Hanin Mazaru was born on Feb. 16, 1996 with a weak heart. Doctors had recommended that immediately after birth she ought to be transferred to Hadasa-Ein Karem hospital for an emergency surgery to save her life. But the Israeli insurance establishment refused to give her mother a letter obligating the patient's fund to pay the cost of the surgery, and consequently the child Hanin died three months after birth.  The pretext the Israeli insurance establishment used was that her mother carries the blue identity card while her father carries a Jordanian passport. However, Israeli law states explicitly that children have the right to benefit from health insurance as long as one of the spouses carry the Israeli identity card.

Dr. Bernard Sabila, professor of social science at Bethlehem university, says that Palestinian Jerusalemites are in need of about 10 thousand housing units, noting that between 1700-1800 Palestinian Jerusalemites leave the city annually due to shortage in hosing units and the number is expected to rise two thousand persons yearly.  He adds that Palestinian Jerusalemites' birthrate is continually decreasing since the year 1982. Israel wants the percentage of Palestinian citizens to be 28% and the Jews 72 which means toppling the demographic balance in favor of Jews.  Right now the Jewish neighborhood is built on 130 dunums of land with 18 settlers living on each dunum, compared to a ratio of 43 Palestinians per dunum in other parts of the city.

Israelis went beyond plundering the land and Judaizing it to wage a war on names of sites and historical places in the holy city and its nearby periphery, where Jewish settlements are built on confiscated land. North of the city, Israelis built a military settlement named Anatout on land confiscated from Anata village while Israeli bulldozers continue breaking ground at Jabal Abu-Ghuneim. The attack on everything that is Palestinian appears more clearly in Jerusalem. "Olmert's municipality" put a sign last year at Lion's Gate-- one of the historical gates of the holy city--naming the place "Mordachai Gore," the Israeli General who occupied Jerusalem in the 1967 war.  This war of names bears a religious character that goes in harmony with political schemes that Israelis are seeking to achieve through Judaizing the holy city.

In a blatant deformation to history, "Olmert's municipality" replaced stones that paved streets of the holy city with modern stones. Despite the officials of the municipality bid to interpret the step as if it was aimed at developing the city, this does not prevent Jerusalemites from asking why these ancient stones were not resorted. The stones which were removed from the old city streets can be clearly seen now being used to pave the courtyards of "Olmert's new municipality" building that has been erected at the entrance of Jaffa street near Jaffa Gate.  Palestinian Jerusalemites believe that Olmert's municipality aims to achieve two objectives: first, obliteration of the old city's antiquities and history, and second, using these stones to show the new Jewish sites as if it were ancient.

Since last March, Israel began a new episode of its excavation serial inside the old city, using this time the pretext of opening a new sewage system. After three weeks of these excavations, the Israeli authorities revealed its real objectives when it announced the discovery of a road that Jews allegedly used to take toward a Temple during the Roman era. The Israeli archaeologist, Jakov Beilig, who supervises this project announced that this road was one of the main roads in ancient Jerusalem and was called "Cardo Seconds." This announcement recalls to memory the excavations that have been carried out in the old part of Jerusalem twenty years ago and resulted at that time in what Israel "Cardo Maximos", where it is called now, after its restoration, "Cardo Market."

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