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Poverty rate among Palestinians in Jerusalem over 80 per cent

February 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has said that the poverty rate among Palestinians in Jerusalem is 79.5 per cent and 85 per cent among children.

According to the ACRI report which presented grave facts about Israeli discrimination against Palestinians in Jerusalem, “this is the worst rate since the begging of the occupation.”

The Palestinian population in Jerusalem is 371,844 representing 39 per cent of Jerusalem’s total population.

About 25 per cent of Palestinians living in Jerusalem and its outskirts are employed in the hotel and restaurant sector, 19 per cent in education and 19 per cent in public service. The sole Palestinian industrial park in Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighbourhood is in danger of downsizing.

According to ACRI, there are only three welfare offices in East Jerusalem which serve more than one third of Jerusalem’s population while 18 such offices operate in West Jerusalem where the majority of the population is Jewish.

In 2012, welfare services identified 7,748 at-risk Palestinian children in East Jerusalem and 86 children suffering from violence and neglect have been taken out of their homes over the past three years.

Because of the shortage of welfare workers, not all cases are fully and speedily resolved.

Only 46 per cent of students study in official municipal schools. There is a chronic shortage of over 1,000 classrooms in East Jerusalem. Despite commitments made by Israeli authorities to the courts, only a few dozen classrooms are built annually.

There are ten municipal kindergartens in East Jerusalem as compared to 77 in West Jerusalem for the secular sector and 96 for the national-religious sector.

ACRI said that the government decision, taken several years ago, to apply the Free Education Law to children aged 3-4 has not as yet been implemented across East Jerusalem.

Israeli policy reasonably contributes to the increase of school drop-out for 12th graders in East Jerusalem, which according to ACRI is at 40 per cent.

The reason is that students who pass the ‘Tawjihi’ or Palestinian high-school tests find it difficult to join Israeli universities; some are offered places at Palestinian universities, including the local Al-Quds University, however the degrees are not recognized by Israel.

On building houses, ACRI said: “The area designated for Palestinian housing covers only 14 per cent of East Jerusalem, and only 7.8 per cent of Jerusalem in total.”

ACRI went on: “Between 2005 and 2009, only 13 per cent of the Jerusalem housing units granted building permits were in Palestinian neighbourhoods, while the remainder were in West Jerusalem where the Jews live.”

Palestinians also suffer from difficulties in terms of movement as a result of both the Separation Wall and the punishing Israeli security measurements. “The building of 142 kilometres of the Separation Barrier, the closing of passage points and the implementation of an ‘entry permit system’ have effectively cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, exacerbating the already dire economic and social conditions for residents,” ACRI said.

Describing the restricted movement of Palestinians in Jerusalem, ACRI said: “An estimated 90,000 Jerusalem residents with Israeli IDs living in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Ras Khamis, Dahiyat al-Salaam, the Shuafat Refugee Camp, Kafr Aqrab, and Samiramis are cut off from the bulk of the city, and need to pass through checkpoints on a daily basis in order to get to work, attend school, obtain medical services, visit family, etc.”

Presenting the Israeli aggression against the civil rights of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the ACRI report said: “In 2012, the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of 116 Palestinians from Jerusalem; since 1967, the residency status of 14,263 has been revoked and rescinded; these former residents are no longer permitted to live in their city.”

With regard to healthcare services, ACRI said: “Twenty five mother-and-baby medical centres exist in West Jerusalem compared to only four in East Jerusalem; while 80-85 per cent of adults and 90 per cent of minors who are in need of mental health services do not receive the necessary support.”