The Israeli authorities have taken advantage of the shifts in the Arab scene and the media’s preoccupation with these shifts to further Judaise the city of Jerusalem by means of imposing a silent transfer policy against Arab Jerusalemites.
In practice, Israel has developed plans that aim to make Israeli Jews the overwhelming majority in the eastern part of Jerusalem, which was occupied in 1967. The proposed increase of Jews in the city will also accommodate those migrating from abroad in response to Israel’s attempts to reopen the channels of Jewish immigration from European countries after recent declines.
In addition to this, there have been reports of financial incentives being offered by Israeli authorities to raise the number of births by Jewish settler women in Jerusalem in order to increase the rate of Jewish population growth.
At the same time, according to Israeli plans, this increase in the number of Jews in the holy city will be accompanied by systematic policies against the Palestinians in Jerusalem aiming to silently expel them from their homes by voiding the legitimacy of their stay in their city. This may lead to tipping the demographic balance in favour of the Jewish settlers in the city in the foreseeable future.
Silent expulsion measures
The Israeli authorities have taken several measures in order to drive Palestinian Jerusalemites (both Muslim and Christian) outside the city. Such measures include stripping Jerusalemites of their identity cards if:
- A Palestinian Jerusalemite lives outside Jerusalem for seven consecutive years
- They obtain another nationality
- Register as a resident of another country
According to these cases, various studies estimate that the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites who have lost their identity cards has now reached about 50,000-60,000. All are either deported from the city of Jerusalem or kept out of it.
It is interesting that all Israeli measures to expel Jerusalemites have been developed in accordance with strict Israeli laws that were planned in advance, as the land-owner, according to the law of the evolution of property and population, is subject to their land and rights being seized at any time, while it is sufficient for any Jewish person from any country around the world to announce their intention of coming to Palestine for them to legally become a citizen of Jerusalem. Moreover, Jewish Jerusalemites do not lose their citizenship if they are absent for seven or seventy years, or if they obtain another nationality. On the other hand, Palestinian land owners are subject to the unfair Israeli laws that provide for the confiscation of their land and its Judaisation by all means, particularly through the seizure of more lands in Jerusalem and the building of settlements in order to surround the city from every side and isolate if from the rest of the towns and villages in the West Bank.
It is important to note that all excavations and digging operations have continued around the Mughrabi Gate, in the area surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque, and in the neighbourhood of Silwan. These operations are serving Israel’s strategic objectives in Judaising Jerusalem, without any official Arab or Islamic response for confronting these policies and measures in Jerusalem.
In accordance with Israeli policies of settlement and the Judaisation of Jerusalem, there are now 26 Israeli settlements in Jerusalem accommodating 200,000 Orthodox Jews.
Despite this, there are still 300,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites; however, the Israeli authorities are seeking to expel the majority of them after taking control of more of their land.
In this context, there are Israeli studies that indicate that Israel is seeking the issuance of successive laws regarding Jerusalem in order to make Jerusalemite land owners the minority, not exceeding 12 per cent of the total population in the entire city of Jerusalem, both east and west, by 2020.
Demographic dimension of the Separation Wall
In addition to the aforementioned racist laws, the Israeli authorities have also adopted the weapon of home demolitions and settlement activity in the city of Jerusalem as part of a well-thought out plan to reduce the presence of the Palestinians.
In this regard, the Separation Wall is considered one of the most important strategies for settling Jerusalem, and as of this moment, has led to the isolation of about 125,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites from the city, while the Israeli authorities have threatened to strip them of their residency.
Coinciding with the demolition, displacement and settlement, Israel continues its construction projects and the annexation of settlement blocs in order to impose a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
Related studies estimate that the total Jewish population in Jerusalem is about 900,000 as of 2013, 200,000 of whom are Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, an area that includes about 48,000 Palestinian homes. There have been orders issued recently to demolish 22,000 of them.
It is clear to any observer that Israel is using the atmosphere of the negotiations and the shifts in the Arab scene to pass their plans and quicken the pace of demolitions, settlements and the confiscation of more land, real estate, and shops in Jerusalem.
In the context of its Judasiation policies in Jerusalem, Israel has intensified its plans to impose a Jewish majority as a fait accompli in Jerusalem over the past three years. Such plans include bulldozing and demolishing thousands of homes in order to remove the Palestinian presence in the Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem, such as the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Eizariya.
As a result of such plans, there are 35,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites threatened with expulsion from Jerusalem.
After the issuance of Israeli laws stipulating the Judaisation of the Arab education system in Jerusalem, especially in primary and secondary school, the ghost of the transfer law now haunts about 30,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites seeking educational opportunities in the other West Bank cities and villages.
It is important to remember that Israel expelled 15,000 Jerusalemites during its occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, and before that, it had expelled 60,000 Jerusalemites in 1948 after committing horrific massacres that same year, especially in the village of Deir Yassin, where Zionist gangs committed a massacre in April 1948.
Today, Netanyahu’s government continues to speed up its besiegement of Jerusalem by means of the Separation Wall.
With regards to this, reports have indicated that the construction of the Wall around the holy city is almost complete, as there are only 50 kilometres out of 165 kilometres in length left. Once the wall is completed, the city of Jerusalem will be demographically and geographically isolated from its Arab surroundings in the West Bank.
Perhaps the top strategy in fighting this Judaisation is the establishment of a fund to support Jerusalem and its people in the face of Israeli policies aimed at expelling the Palestinian Jerusalemites (both Muslims and Christians) from the city in order to impose Judaisation as a fait accompli. This fund was approved at the Arab Summit held in Beirut in 2002.
It is also imperative to expose the Israeli policies and actions in Jerusalem by publishing documentation of the ongoing aggression in Arab and foreign media in order to expose the determined Israeli efforts to expel Jerusalemites on a regular basis.
It is also necessary for joint Arab and Islamic work to be carried out in the diplomatic and political fields, as well as calling on the United Nations and associated organisations to apply the international resolutions regarding Jerusalem. The most important of such resolutions are those that stress the need to stop Israeli settlements in Jerusalem, as well as the rejection of forced demographic changes and making an effort to help the return of Jerusalemites who have been displaced from the city as a result of the occupation.
This would reinforce the measures taken to stabilise Jerusalemites on their own land, protecting their stores and properties, and, in turn, eliminate the Israeli authorities’ opportunities to impose a Jewish fait accompli in the city of Jerusalem through the silent expulsion of Palestinian Jerusalemites. The Israeli authorities are taking advantage of the talk about negotiations with the Palestinians, as well as the transformations in the Arab scene and the media’s preoccupation with them, to pass its evacuative plans and step up the pace of demolitions and settlements in Jerusalem.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.