JERUSALEM, July 24, 2013 (WAFA) – Palestinians officials warned Wednesday of a new Israeli policy aimed at emptying occupied East Jerusalem of its ethnic Palestinian residents.
Ahmad Rwaidi, an advisor to President Abbas on Jerusalem affairs, said Palestinian residents of Jerusalem who have recently renewed their Israeli-issued identity card have noticed a new addition on it that says the holder of the ID card is a resident only and that his or her residency is valid for 10 years.
What this means, he said, is that Israel does not recognize the over 300,000 Palestinians in East Jerusalem as citizens, rather only a temporary residents who have to constantly prove residency in the city by providing all kinds of documents to the Israeli Ministry of Interior every time that person needs something from it.
Rwaidi said this ethnic cleansing policy could be used to evacuate the city of its Palestinian residents with a goal to leave a very clear Jewish majority in order to keep control over the city in any future negotiated peace settlement.
He said that while this policy is not new, more than 14,000 Jerusalem residents have lost their right to be in their city since Israel started to apply this policy in1994, explaining that Israel’s goal is to keep the percentage of Palestinians in the city vis-à-vis Jews to only 15 percent by 2020. Currently the rate is 38 percent Palestinians.
He said that forcing residents to prove their residency in the city every time they go the interior ministry office and limiting their residency for only 10 is worrying.
Israel started an aggressive policy of settlement building in East Jerusalem soon after its occupation and annexation in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War in order to create new facts on the ground by increasing the number of Jews in the city to make them an obvious majority.
It seized Palestinian land and limited Palestinian construction through a policy of not issuing building permits to Palestinians under various pretexts while it finance and built tens of thousands of housing units for the Jews and almost none for Palestinian Arabs.
In spite of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem, the international community, including the United States, Israel’s foremost ally, has not yet recognized its control over the city and refuse to move their embassies there from their current location in Tel Aviv.
The European Union said this week that it will start boycotting products made in Israeli settlements, including in occupied East Jerusalem, provoking strong Israeli reaction.
The Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their state and they refuse to sign any peace agreement with Israel that does not give them control over East Jerusalem, which includes the historic Old City and its Muslim and Christian holy places.
source : WAFA NEWS