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77% of the residents of the Old City in Jerusalem are Muslims

Palestinians stage a demonstration at Damascus Gate in Old City to protest against Jewish settlers' blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad, on 19 June 2021 in Jerusalem. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians stage a demonstration at Damascus Gate in Old City to protest against Jewish settlers' blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad, on 19 June 2021 in Jerusalem. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

An Israeli writer has said that "the statistical reality in the city of Jerusalem shows that 77% of the Old City's residents are Muslim while only 10% are Jewish."

The writer observed that 24 per cent of the Old City's territories in Jerusalem are owned by the Islamic Waqf (Endowment), which is equivalent to 210 dunums (21 hectars), including Al-Aqsa Mosque's 144 dunums (14.4 hectars).

In an article published by the Jerusalem Institute for Political and Public Affairs, which Arab21 translated, Nadav Shragai added that "29% others are owned by the churches and the Christian religious institutions, equivalent to 255 dunums, while 27% are owned privately by the Arabs, equivalent to 235 dunums, and only 20% are owned by Israel, equivalent to 170 dunums."

Yisrael Cemhi, an Israeli researcher who specialises in Jerusalem affairs, reported that out of 870 original dunums in the Old City, 450 are used for housing while 270 are dedicated to religious and educational institutions, though they are not currently in use. There are 6,187 apartments in the Old City, of which 3,622 are in the Islamic quarter, 1,295 in the Christian quarter, 677 in the Armenian quarter and 493 in the Jewish quarter."

He explained that "the area with the greatest population density within the city is the Islamic quarter, where population density in the residential areas alone reaches 158 persons per dunum while it is 80 persons per dunum in the case of the Jews."

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"The number of Muslims has witnessed an exponential increase since 1967 until today. It has even doubled, and that's for two reasons: the first is the aspiration of the Palestinians to preserve the Arab and Islamic character of the Old City; and the second is the housing crisis emanating from the planning and construction policies that hinder any new constructions by the Arabs in East Jerusalem."

He added "with regard to Jewish residents, who did not exist in the Old City prior to 1967, their number today is about 3,500, amounting to 10% of the Old City's residents. Since 1995, there has been a rise of no more than 1.5%, while the number of Christian residents fell slightly."

"There are now 75 properties in the Islamic quarter in which Jews reside," he explained.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 9 August 2021

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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