A report issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has confirmed that since its occupation in 1967, authorities of the Israeli occupation have confiscated about a third of the territory of East Jerusalem in order to expand settlement construction.
Ray Dolphin, the author of a report entitled “East Jerusalem: the basic human concerns”, said that Israeli policies and measures give priority to Israeli settlers in Jerusalem at the expense of the city’s indigenous inhabitants, pointing out that the Israeli occupation has confiscated thirty-five per cent of the Palestinian territories in eastern Jerusalem, for the benefit of projects aimed to expand Jewish settlements and to build other new settlements.
During a press conference held on Monday 9th May, at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York, Dolphin said that according to the settlement policies enforced in Jerusalem, the occupation ensures that no more than thirteen per cent of East Jerusalem territory is allocated to the Palestinian population. This limits the options available to Palestinians, and drives them to resort to “illegal construction” after which their homes become subject to demolition.
The UN official highlighted that during the past 44 years; the Israeli occupation had demolished more than 2,000 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem and built thousands of new housing units in the region’s settlements.
In his comprehensive report which is considered the first of its kind issued by a UN Office on the conditions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Dolphin stressed that “Israeli settlements in general are a problem because they seize the lands and resources that should have been made available to the Palestinians in East Jerusalem.”