Hisham Jamjom an International Solidarity Movement local coordinator and a resident of East Jerusalem talked about the effects of the Wall on the local residents of those areas: “When my children grow up and want to marry, they will not be able to build houses in Jerusalem and will thus be forced to move to the West Bank. In contrast, the settlements are allowed to build huge apartment buildings, that can house tens of families. Also, villages that fall outside what Israel defines as the Jerusalem municipality, such as Beit Furik and Biddu, are forbidden to build new houses. In order to even apply for a permit, you have to come up with thousands and thousands of dollars. All this is forcing Palestinians out of Jerusalem into the West Bank. The merchants here have no income, because they depend on both tourism and the Palestinians from surrounding villages and people from other Palestinian cities such as Hebron, Ramallah, etc.
“The Wall will force scores of Palestinian families to leave Jerusalem and loose their residency there. All of this comes as part of Olmert’s plan which is to create a Jewish Jerusalem, and he has implemented this policy in a wise way,” Hisham added.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Israeli Supreme Court rejected two efforts to change the route of the Wall in the West Bank around East Jerusalem. In both cases, Palestinian residents argued that the Wall would be built on private land and cut them off from their “centre of life” in Jerusalem. One argued that part of the barrier would be built on a cemetery that is still in use.
The court ruled for the government, which argued that the “security” needs of the Wall outweighed humanitarian concerns. The government argued that residents could still enter the city through passages located near their neighbourhoods.
Daniela Yanai, a lawyer at Ir Amim, an Israeli advocacy group that deals with Jerusalem issues, said the decisions reflect Israel’s goal to strengthen its hold on East Jerusalem.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem, West Jerusalem occupied in 1948 and east Jerusalem and the surrounding villages occupied in 1967, as its capital. In 1980 Israel officially annexed “East Jerusalem”.
International law, governments around the world (including the UK and the US who both keep their official ambassadors to Israel in Tel-Aviv, not Jerusalem) and the Palestinians view the parts of Jerusalem east of the Green Line captured by Israel in 1967, as the capital of the future Palestinian state.