Israeli persecution in occupied Jerusalem Physical and structural violence employed to changes Jerusalemites’ identity

Israeli persecution in occupied Jerusalem Physical and structural violence employed to changes Jerusalemites’ identity Despite being annexed by the Israeli government following the six-day war of 1967, Palestinians who manage to continue living in East Jerusalem (despite policies that pressure them to leave) are treated as second-class, “less-than” citizens. Among the many indignities are a wide variety of human rights violations, perpetrated by virtually all sectors of Israeli government. These violations are not limited to direct violence committed by Israeli authorities; they also include structural (“indirect”) abuses, such as discrimination and exploitation. The direct violence practiced by Israelis include murder, arbitrary detention and destruction (including bulldozing) of homes. Structural violence takes the form of procedures and laws that discriminate, enforce racial apartheid and sows fear. Documentation of these violations shows that Israeli authorities employ the two types of violence in a distinctive manner designed to fragment Palestinian society, obliterate the Arab character of occupied Jerusalem and create a new identity that reflects the settlers transplanted there from all over the world. Israel’s goal is clear: Erase the Palestinian presence through demographic replacement, in parallel with geographical and cultural change via establishment of settlements and Judaization. This report reviews the most prominent patterns of direct and structural violence practiced by Israel from a human rights perspective, and highlights the roles of the various components of Israeli society and their effect on Palestinians. Background In June 1967, following the war and its seizure of the West Bank from Jordan, Israel held a census in the annexed area of East Jerusalem. Palestinians who happened to be absent at the time lost their right to return to their homes. Those who were present were given the status of “permanent resident” of Israel – a legal status accorded to foreign nationals living in the country. Yet, most Palestinians were born there, along with their ancestors. Permanent residency confers fewer rights than citizenship. While those with this status can live and work in Israel and receive social (such as health) benefits, they cannot participate in national elections or run for the office of mayor, although they may vote in local elections and compete for a seat on the city council. When permanent residents marry someone who lives outside, they must request permission for their spouses to live with them. That permission is rarely granted; in July 2003, the Knesset passed a law barring these spouses from receiving permanent residency, except for extreme exceptions. Meanwhile, Israel designated huge swathes of Palestinian land within the municipal boundaries as “open scenic areas,” where development is forbidden. Only about 15% of the land area in East Jerusalem is zoned for residential use by Palestinian residents, although in 2016, they accounted for an estimated 40% of the city’s population. The remaining portions of this report focus on other methods used by the Israeli government and its allies to force Palestinians to leave East Jerusalem.

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