Jerusalem Displacement Subject of Lecture

Violations against Jerusalemites were reviewed in a lecture series on the question of Jerusalem organized by the Birzeit University Deanship of Student Affairs.

The lecture examined laws and policies that have been enacted and proposed by Israel in order to tighten its grip and control on Jerusalem since 1967.

Master’s Development Coordinator at the Faculty of Law and Public Administration Mahmoud Abu Sawi spoke about the mass eviction of tens of thousands of Palestinians, most notably in Jerusalem, which continues to this day. "Discriminatory laws are enacted and enforced. In 2015, more than 2,260 persons were arrested, most of them children and 40 Jerusalemites were detained for Facebook posts and activities on social media."

He called the process underway in Jerusalem “ethnic cleansing,"  and went on: "Israel began a series of measures intended not only to maintain control over Jerusalem, but also to change its demographic character and its geopolitical boundaries. It carried out a census of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem directly after it was occupied thereby depriving thousands of Palestinians of their right to live in Jerusalem because they were outside for more than three years."

These policies have been compounded by house confiscations, the stripping if ID cards, suspending family reunification petitions, and refusing to register children of Jerusalemite mothers, Abu Sawi concluded.

Head of the Mapping and Geographic Information Systems Department of the Arab Studies Society in Jerusalem Khalil Tufakji said that many Jerusalemites are living in illegal buildings threatened with demolition. "The demographic balance policy was a major cause of the residential crisis of Palestinians in Jerusalem. Israel has developed a framework for integrating the occupied city into Israel and separating it from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. Israeli national and municipal authorities are implementing policies that ensure Israel’s domination by creating territorial division with the West Bank and working to guarantee a Jewish demographic majority.

Tufakji presented a number of maps that reflect the current condition of Jerusalem, showing geographic partitions and unequal demographic distribution.

This lecture series began the previous month with a presentation by the Head of Christian World Section and member of the Christian-Islamic Committee in support of Jerusalem and the Holy Places Fr. Manuel Musallam and department of Architectural Engineering professor Jamal Amro, both who explored violations against the holy sites in Jerusalem.