The combined area of Jerusalem, both east and west, totals 125,400 dunams and falls within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. It’s the largest city in historic Palestine, with a population of 900,000, consisting of 39% Palestinians and 61% Israeli Jews.
In East Jerusalem alone, there are 340,000 Palestinians and 220,000 settlers. Israel has established ten major settlements in the holy city, accommodating 55,000 settler units.
Since 1967, Israeli authorities have seized 3,004 properties owned by Jerusalemites in the eastern part of the city, forcibly expelling its residents and replacing them with settlers. This has notably occurred in the Old City, Silwan, and Sheikh Jarrah.
In 2023, the Israeli government, along with municipal and settler associations, approved the construction of 13,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem, with construction ongoing.
Abu Diab notes that Israeli authorities have revoked the residency of around 20,115 Jerusalemites since 1967. Additionally, 3,124 homes have been demolished in the city’s eastern part, with 615 homeowners demolishing their own homes under duress, following municipal pressure to avoid the high demolition costs. This has led to the displacement of 16,200 Jerusalemites.
The threat of demolition looms over 22,416 homes, under the pretext of building without permits, with the areas surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque, located within the so-called “Holy Basin,” being the most threatened. This historic area spans 27,500 dunams and includes Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Mount of Scopus, Mount of Olives, and Mount Scopus.
Approximately 46% of demolition orders are directed at Silwan and Mount Scopus, with 87 settlements established in Silwan alone. The Israeli authorities have seized 27% of Silwan’s land for Judaization and settlement purposes.
The number of settlers in Silwan reaches 3,150, while the Old City has around 4,000 settlers, especially in the Moroccan Quarter and the Hara Al-Sharif neighborhood, where residents were expelled.
Restrictions on Construction
Furthermore, Israeli authorities have categorized 87% of Jerusalem’s lands as “green areas” where construction is prohibited, in favor of settlements, roads, and bypass roads. Palestinians are allowed to build on only 13% of their lands.
Of this 13%, 2% in northern Jerusalem is the only area where construction is still possible. Abu Diab highlights that 97% of building permit applications submitted by Jerusalemites to the Israeli municipality are rejected, while 99% of settlers’ applications are approved.
This year, Israeli authorities have presented 22 expansion plans for settlements in East Jerusalem, comprising a total of 16,060 settlement units. The United Nations recognizes East Jerusalem as an occupied territory (subject to the Fourth Geneva Convention) and, based on this recognition, rejects Israeli claims to sovereignty over it.
UN Security Council Resolution 252 of 1968 states that “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.”
Translated from: Safa News Agency