Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Christianity and the Middle East: Jerusalem Peace Activists on Quaker Tour

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Christianity and the Middle East: Jerusalem Peace Activists on Quaker Tour

Article excerpt

Christianity and the Middle East: Jerusalem Peace Activists On Quaker Tour

The American Friends Service Committee (Quaker) is among those concerned that Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem have deteriorated to a very critical point. Thousands of forcibly separated Palestinian families have applied for family reunification permits there but very few have received them. Currently the Israeli authorities are instead confiscating Jerusalem ID cards from Palestinians who cannot prove that "their center of life" is in Jerusalem. The Israeli government policies of continuing land confiscation, refusing to grant building permits to Palestinians, expanding the building of Jewish settlements and revoking non-Jewish residency rights are aimed at encouraging Palestinians to leave Palestine, Jerusalem in particular. The resultant "facts on the ground," a reduced percentage of Muslim and Christian residents, especially in Jerusalem, are sure to be used by the Israelis when negotiating the final status of Jerusalem.

In order to bring to U.S. attention one of Israel's unjust policies toward Palestinians, the restriction of their residency rights, AFSC invited two prominent Jerusalem lawyers to speak in the United States from April 27 to May 4. They were Osama Halaby, an Arab, and Leah Tsemel, who is Jewish. Leah has defended Palestinian political prisoners ever since the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Osama worked as director of the legal department of the Quaker Legal Aid and Information Center in East Jerusalem for many years. …

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