Divided Jerusalem

Palestinians in Jerusalem make up close to 40 percent of the city’s population.

They are required to pay taxes to the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem municipality like any inhabitant of the city.

But Israel deliberately avoids investing in infrastructure and services in East Jerusalem.

Only 10 percent of the Jerusalem municipality’s budget goes to public spending in East Jerusalem.

While many parts of West Jerusalem resemble any European city, East Jerusalem looks like a large, underdeveloped refugee camp.

Roads are narrow and unpaved in many places; sidewalks end abruptly, and there is a severe shortage of sanitation.

The discrimination also exists on the bureaucratic level.

If you’re a Jew born in Jerusalem, you automatically receive Israeli citizenship.

If you’re a Palestinian born in Jerusalem, you receive residency status and a temporary Jordanian passport. The latter serves as nothing more than a travel document.

Palestinians in Jerusalem are essentially stateless.

More than 140,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have been physically separated from the city by a 700-kilometre concrete wall, which Israel started building in 2002.

Although Israel claimed that the wall separates the West Bank from Israel for security, it cuts deep into Palestinian territory.

It also cuts off Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank to solidify Israeli control over Jerusalem.

The main Palestinian university in Jerusalem, Al Quds University, has been cut off from the city by the wall.

These are the two relatively “upscale” neighbourhoods in East and West Jerusalem.

While West Jerusalem has 1,000 public parks, East Jerusalem has 45.

West Jerusalem has 26 public libraries, while East Jerusalem has two.

West Jerusalem has 27 municipality-run family health centres; East Jerusalem has six.

During the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, the Palestinians who lived in West Jerusalem were either expelled to East Jerusalem or the West Bank or left the country.

While Israel allowed thousands of Jews to move into settlements in East Jerusalem, not a single Palestinian has been allowed to return to their home in West Jerusalem.

The neighbourhoods and homes of West Jerusalem that remained intact during 1948 still bear Arabic inscriptions, testifying to their original owners.

There was no regulated Palestinian public transport system in East Jerusalem until 2004.

West Jerusalem has a central bus station complete with an indoor mall and security checks.

In East Jerusalem, three open-air bus depots constitute the only central bus station.

Transportation remains highly segregated for Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Out of 21 stops, the Jerusalem light rail serves only two Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

The Old City, located in East Jerusalem, is at the heart of the conflict and occupation.

It is also a major tourist and pilgrimage site for people from all over the world.

The site’s significance gives Israel more reason to entrench its 51-year-old occupation of East Jerusalem and control over the Old City, which has been designated a World Heritage site by the United Nations.

To religious Jews, the 1967 war and the occupation of the remainder of historical Palestine – particularly the Old City – led to a sense of euphoria.

Thousands of Jews, including secular Jews, flocked to the Western Wall, also known as the al-Buraq Wall to Muslims.

They wept as they gave thanks for what they believed was a miracle from God.

That year, Israel demolished the entire 770-year-old Moroccan Quarter neighbourhood and expelled its residents to create this wide open space adjacent to the Western Wall.

Most of Palestine’s Christians fled the country during the 1948 Nakba.

Some 10 percent of six million Palestinians across historical Palestine are Christian.

In a rare move, on February 2018, church leaders shut the doors to the church for three consecutive days in protest against what they described as discriminatory Israeli policies aimed at weakening Christian presence in Jerusalem.

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