Arab East Jerusalem

Dec. 1, 2013


Throughout its history, Jerusalem has been not only the religious center for the three monotheistic faiths, but also an important political and cultural focal point for its inhabitants. Having withstood numerous wars and battles over the years, the city still remains the heart of Palestine and at the core of the unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict.

Since the occupation in 1967, consecutive Israeli governments have zealously pursued a policy aimed at changing the city’s Arab character and 'Judaizing' East Jerusalem to create a new geopolitical reality that guarantees Israel’s territorial, demographic, and religious control over the entire city. Over many years and in violation of international law (especially regarding the transfer of civilians to occupied territory), Israel has expropriated huge areas of land in occupied East Jerusalem and built a series of settlements. At the same time, they have deprived Palestinians in the city of their rights to build housing and infrastructure and the provision of proper services.

In recent years, increasingly elaborate Israeli strategies have been introduced to consolidate exclusive control and claimed sovereignty over Jerusalem, and which make any negotiations on sharing an open city almost meaningless.

Jerusalem is a very complex city and the realities of the situation on the ground make it a powder keg, not only in national-political terms, but also socio-economically. Israeli policies impact on every aspect of the daily lives of Palestinians in the city.

This reader is intended to shed light on Israel’s ongoing plans and policies aimed at further strengthening its grip over the city to the detriment of the Palestinian population. It provides a brief overview of the history and the religious, legal and demographic aspects of the Jerusalem question, demonstrating in detail the geopolitical means employed by Israel to ensure that the city can never be "shared" along any lines, and hindering any Palestinian plans to develop Arab East Jerusalem and declare it the capital of a future Palestinian state. Chapters cover issues of residency rights and housing, examine the situation in the Old City, and discuss negotiations with regard to Jerusalem. Israeli municipal policies implemented in the city are detailed, as well as the current situation in the educational, health and economic sectors.

In light of this information, in conjunction with the building of the separation barrier and demographic developments, one wonders if and how Jerusalem can ever be a peaceful, open, shared city. Intervention is urgently needed by the international community to protect Palestinian rights in the city and help to ensure that all residents enjoy the same rights, dignity, and welfare.

Dr. Mahdi Abdul Hadi
Chiarman of PASSIA - Jerusalem


List of Abbreviations


1. Historical background

Early History
The British Mandate (1917-1948)
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War - Al-Nakba
Israeli Occupation 1967
Israeli Policies Since 1967
The Intifada Years
The Oslo Process and Negotiations

2. Religious Aspects


3. Legal Status

International Law
Israeli Law
Palestinian Elections

5. Population & AREA

Area & Localities
Land & Settlement
Land Expropriation
Israeli Settlements in East Jerusalem
Recent Settlement Activities in East Jerusalem
Around the Old City & the “Holy Basin” Area
“National Parks”
Sheikh Jarrah
Wadi Al-Joz
French Hill (Givat Shapira)
Mount Scopus/Al-Issawiya
At-Tur (Mount of Olives)
The “Holy Basin” Area beyond the Old City
Ras Al-Amud
Jabal Mukabber
Abu Dis
Building and Expansion of Settlements within the Israeli Municipal Boundaries
Ramat Shlomo
Qalandia Airport/Atarot
Neve Ya’akov
Pisgat Ze’ev
Beit Hanina
Sha’ar Mizrahi (Shu’fat-Anata Area)
East Talpiot
Har Homa on Jabal Abu Ghneim
Givat Hamatos (Beit Safafa)
Givat Yael (Walajeh)
The Settlement Enterprise Beyond the Israeli Municipal Boundaries (‘Greater Jerusalem’)
Har Adar
Har Shmuel
Givat Ze’ev – Agan Ha’Ayalot
Kokhav Ya’akov
Geva Binyamin (Adam)
Ma’ale Adumim and the E-1 (East 1) Plan
Har Gilo
Israel’s Separation Barrier around the City – The ‘Jerusalem Envelope’
The Road Network – Bypassing Palestinian East Jerusalem

6. The Old City

Quarters & Gates
The Noble Sanctuary - Al-Haram Ash-Sharif
Jewish Settlement Enclaves and Targets

7. Jerusalem Master Plan

8. Residency Rights

Permanent Residency
Family Unification
Child Registration

9. Housing & House demolitions

10. Jerusalem in Negotiations

11. Israeli Municipal Policies: Budget, Services, Taxation & Infrastructure

12. Education

13. Health

14. Economy

15. Palestinian Institutions


I. Depopulated and destroyed Palestinian villages in the Jerusalem area

II. Absentee Property Law

III. The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision) 5763-2003

IV. Map: The Old City and the ‘Holy Basin’ Area

V. Map: Settlement Activity in and around the Old City of Jerusalem

VI. Map: Israeli Settlement Activity and Plans in and around Jerusalem