Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

East Jerusalem Neighborhoods Behind the Separation Barrier

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

East Jerusalem Neighborhoods Behind the Separation Barrier

Article excerpt

As Americans we take many things for granted. But imagine if you lived in a place where there is no proper garbage disposal, no real road infrastructure, and no clean water supply-and that a few miles to the west of you, people have better living conditions, with all the functions and services your community lacks. This is the reality for the estimated 120,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. Moien Odeh, a member of Al-Shabaka-the Palestinian Policy Network, described the typical living conditions of East Jerusalemites in his Nov. 30, 2016 presentation at the Jerusalem Fund, "Living in Limbo: East Jerusalem's Neighborhoods Behind the Separation Barrier."

Since Israel seized East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, during the Six-Day War Israel launched that June, its policy for the East Jerusalem neighborhood has been one of annexation and confiscation. The Palestinian Authority is not allowed to provide services, and the Israeli authorities refuse to do so. Odeh believes that Israel's motive is to make the neighborhood so bad that Palestinians have no other choice but to leave. So basically, Odeh explained, Palestinians have gone from being residents to refugees in their own country.

According to Odeh, the main problems facing East Jerusalem are official government neglect, lack of law enforcement, illegal settlements, and the various checkpoints between East and West Jerusalem. By 2004 Israel had ceased providing government and municipal services-including clean water, waste disposal and electricity- to East Jerusalem residents, so the area suffers from pollution and is in poor condition. …

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