Palestinian Jerusalemites are Threatened to lose their ID’s under New Israeli Regulations

Palestinian Jerusalemites are Threatened to lose their ID’s under New Israeli Regulations



Making the Jewish population a majority of 76% of Jerusalem's population in contrast to 24% for the Palestinians is a strategic target for the State of Israel which is implemented gradually. According to an Israeli source, by the year 2010, the population of Jerusalem (West and East) is expected to exceed 817,000. Of this figure, 31% or 251,000 individuals will be Palestinian citizens (Fig 1).

Fig 1: Jerusalem boundary pre and post 1967


A number of bureaucratic procedures to control and limit the number of Palestinians who legally reside in Jerusalem were applied. One of these procedures is the confiscation of ID cards from Palestinian citizens of Jerusalem. More than 4,000 of these cards have been confiscated by the Israeli Interior Ministry since 1967 (Fig 2)

Fig 2: ID Cards Confiscated from Palestinian Jerusalemites, 1967-1996
Source: AIC Press Release, 23 September 1997; for January/February 1997: Ha'aretz, 17 March 1997.


Note: The dependent children of those who have lost their ID cards are not included in the above numbers. If they were included in the calculation, the figures would be considerably higher.

The above graph shows that the confiscations of Jerusalemites ID cards jumped from an average of 30 per year from 1987 to 1995 to more than 600 annually since the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to power in May 1996. An acceleration also noticed during the first three months of 1998, with 178 Palestinians having their IDs revoked and another 500 cases put under review.

The confiscation of ID cards forces Palestinians to move to the West Bank or abroad. Moreover, they lose benefits offered by Israel's social security system and access to public schools, etc.

Replacement of travel permits towards Jerusalem ID confiscation
Over the past 31 years of occupation, it appears that the aim of Israeli Authorities has been to remove Palestinian residents from their land. Jerusalem's Arabs wake up almost every morning to new facts determined by Israel in the city.

In a recent incident, August 12, 1998, the Palestinian daily, Al-Quds (Issue no. 10404) alarmed Palestinian Jerusalemites with the news that the Israeli Ministry of Interior is planning to abolish the use of travel permits, and replace them with the Israeli 'Laissez-passer', a temporary document that would be issued for individual trips only. The source of the information was the chairman of the Knesset Committee on Internal Affairs, Saleh Tarif, who heard about it from the Israeli Minister of the Interior, Eli Suissa.

Over the past few years, Mr. Suissa has done everything in his power to prevent Palestinian construction in the city. Frequent complaints are made by Palestinians to the effect that they are rarely issued building permits by the Israeli government and as a result are forced to live abroad or in the West Bank.

Since 1967, Israel has built approximately 40,000 housing units and settled some 170,000 Jews in East Jerusalem. By comparison, only 600 housing units were built for Palestinians within the same time period. New Jewish quarters are also planned for the Palestinian neighborhoods of Silwan and Ras Al- Amoud.

The Israeli Minister of Interior inspired the campaign to confiscate Jerusalem identity cards from Palestinians leaving the city, making their lives miserable with exhausting bureaucratic procedures in his efforts to remove the Jerusalem documents from their possession. For example, many Jerusalemite women who reside in East Jerusalem, but marry men from the West Bank are forced to give up their residency by an Israeli refusal to grant their husbands or children identity cards.

More recently, Israel has applied the 1952 'Law of Entry to Israel', which allows the authorities to withdraw residency status from those Palestinians who have lived outside of the country for seven consecutive years, have another nationalities or have become residents of another country. This law however, contravenes international laws such as those set by the UN Security Council, the 1949 Geneva Convention and the UN General Assembly resolution. All of these laws consider East Jerusalem to be a part of the Occupied Territories.

The statement made by Mr. Suissa concerning the intention to issue a new Israeli travel document, to replace the old travel permits enforced since 1967, implies very serious political and economic dimensions. This is another Israeli measure to strengthen the isolation of Jerusalem from the West Bank to become an exclusive Israeli territory. The Israeli procedures require counter Palestinian and Arab moves to reject it since Jerusalem is an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territory like the rest of the towns in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Israeli Plans