Israel’s “security” wall around Occupied East Jerusalem is another step in a long-term strategy of confiscating as much Palestinian land as possible, while simultaneously encouraging the Palestinian population to leave the area. Previous steps in this strategy have included the demolition of homes in East Jerusalem, the revocation of Jerusalem residency cards and receipt of significantly less municipal social services than Palestinians contribute as revenue. At the same time, Israel has increased the number of illegal Israeli colonies and Israeli Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem by providing settlers with favorable apartment purchase prices, subsidized mortgages and exemptions from municipal taxes for certain periods. As a result, East Jerusalem settlers comprise an estimated 75-80% of the total increase in Israeli-defined Jerusalem’s Jewish population since 1967.
Although justified as a “security” wall, the wall has little to do with security. If the wall were truly about security, the wall would have been built on Israel’s 1967 pre-occupation border (the “Green Line”). Like the wall surrounding the remainder of the Occupied West Bank, the wall surrounding Occupied East Jerusalem is not being built on the Green Line, but well within Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Case of Jerusalem – Creating Palestinian Ghettoes, Expanding Israeli Colonies
Following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in June 1967, Israel unilaterally expanded the borders of Jerusalem, incorporating 64 square kilometers of Occupied Palestinian Territory (also referred to as “East Jerusalem”) into a newly expanded “Jerusalem municipality.” The territory incorporated amounted to 1.1% of the Occupied West Bank. The expansion was internationally condemned as a violation of the international prohibition against acquiring territory by force. The borders were drawn in such a way as to incorporate undeveloped Palestinian land for future Israeli colonies, while leaving Palestinian population centers outside the new borders.
The land illegally incorporated into the Jerusalem municipality was used to build illegal Israeli colonies in an attempt to change the demographic make-up of the area. There are now 12 illegal Israeli colonies in Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem, with approximately 170,000 Israeli settlers (representing almost half of the Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories).
In 1980, Israel passed the Basic Law on Jerusalem by which it extended Israel’s jurisdiction to Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem. The attempted annexation was internationally condemned and declared of “no legal validity” by the United Nations Security Council.
There are 19 Palestinian neighborhoods within the Jerusalem municipality, with a total Palestinian population of 249,000. These Palestinians are forced to have residency cards to live in their own city. Israel requires Palestinian (but not Israeli) residents of East Jerusalem to regularly prove that Jerusalem is their “center of life.” If Palestinian residents of Jerusalem live, study or work outside of Jerusalem, they risk losing their residency rights. To date, almost 7,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have lost their residency rights.
An additional 24 Palestinian neighborhoods (in the Occupied West Bank) surround East Jerusalem. These neighborhoods are dependent upon the facilities of Occupied East Jerusalem, including six specialized hospitals and two universities.
Since 1993, Israel has denied Palestinians free access to East Jerusalem. Non-Jerusalemite Palestinians wishing to visit East Jerusalem must obtain a temporary permit rarely granted by Israel. As a result, three million Christian and Muslim Palestinians have been denied access to their holy sites in Jerusalem, even during religious holidays.
Israel continues to expand the colonies and the colony infrastructure around the Jerusalem area.
Facts on the Wall Enclosing Jerusalem
Israel is building a wall on the north, south and east sides of Israeli-Occupied East Jerusalem. When completed, the wall will be more than 40 kilometers long.
The northern part of the wall enclosing Jerusalem is currently approximately 8 kilometers long and 40-100 meters wide, with an electrified fence, electronic sensors, watchtowers and buffer zones. Israel has confiscated 800 dunums of land for the wall’s construction, 500 of which will be isolated south of the wall and 300 dunums used for the “buffer zone.”
The wall has been built up to 6 kilometers north of the Green Line.
The constructed portion of the southern wall is currently approximately 14.5 kilometers long and consists of an electrified fence, buffer zones, trenches, barbed wire and electronic sensors.
The wall has been built up to 3 kilometers south of the Green Line cutting off the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem, Beit Sahur and Beit Jala and the Palestinian refugee camps of Deheisheh, Aida and Beit Jibrin (combined population 170,000 Palestinians) from Jerusalem and the central and northern parts of the Occupied West Bank.
The armed Israeli checkpoint will be moved 200 meters south of the existing checkpoint.
The wall is being constructed approximately 5 kilometers east of the Green Line – well into Occupied Palestinian Territory.
When completed the eastern wall will be approximately 17.2 kilometers long.
To date, 753 dunums of land have been confiscated for the construction of the eastern wall.
Effects of the Wall enclosing Jerusalem
As a result of the wall:
Jerusalem will be separated from the remainder of the Occupied West Bank.
Approximately 5.6% of the Occupied West Bank (320 km2) in and around Occupied East Jerusalem will be de facto annexed into Israel.
Approximately 249,000 Palestinians residents of Jerusalem will be cut off from the rest of the Occupied West Bank;
Palestinians will be denied access to special medical, educational and religious services that will be west of the wall. These include:
Mukassed Hospital – provides heart care treatment
Augusta Victoria Hospital – the only hospital in the Occupied West Bank that provides kidney dialysis
Al-Quds Open University
Haram al-Sharif and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre – religious sites for Christians and Muslims
The path of the Good Friday Procession will be blocked, thereby infringing upon this long-standing Christian tradition.
The Palestinian cemetery in Eizariya will be divided: the wall will pass directly over the graves of Palestinians.
In the north, Ram/Dahiyat al-Bareed (population 24,119 Palestinians) will become a ghetto. This neighborhood will be entirely enclosed by the wall. In the south, the residents of 37 homes will be cut off from the remainder of Bethlehem, as they will be north of the wall, trapped between the wall and the Green Line.
Given that Qalandia Refugee Camp and Kufr Aqab will be behind the wall, the approximately 15,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem living in these areas will be separated from Jerusalem and risk losing their Jerusalem residency rights.
Colony Expansion in Jerusalem
Three new Israeli-only colonies will be created in the Jerusalem area:
In Abu Dis – the colony of Kidmat Sayun will be built (400 housing units).
In Jabal Mukaber – the colony of Nof Zahav will be built (400 housing units).
In the E1 area – the colony will consist of 4,000 housing units, 10 hotels and a commercial area.
To facilitate colony expansion and to connect the colonies, Israel is constructing a “ring road” designed to encircle the Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem:
The ring road follows the line of the wall and connects the colonies in the east, north and south with west Jerusalem, cutting through Palestinian areas. It is projected to be 15.5 kilometers in length.
658 dunums of land will be confiscated from the Palestinian villages of Isawiya, Tur, Eizariya, Abu Dis, Ras al-Amoud, Sur Baher, Zaim, Sheikh Saad and Sawareh.
Approximately 40 Palestinian homes will be demolished.
 PASSIA, 2003 Diary 248 (2002).
 There are approximately 370,000 Israeli settlers living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Mid Year Projected Population in Jerusalem, 2003 (September 2003).
 1 dunum = ¼ acre.