Days of Palestine, Jerusalem -Eighty-two percent of Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem lived under poverty line in 2014, a sharp increase from previous years, statistics said.
According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israeli Studies, the poverty rate among Palestinian children in occupied Jerusalem in 2014 was higher, at 86.6 per cent.
Occupied Jerusalem’s approximately 300,000 residents have long been one of the poorest groups in Israel, but over the past decade their economic situation has worsened drastically.
In 2006, the poverty rate in Occupied Jerusalem was only 66 per cent – 16 percentage points lower. The reason, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, was the construction of the Israeli Apartheid Wall, which cut Jerusalem off from the occupied West Bank.
The newspaper said that caused severe harm to businesses that relied on customers from the West Bank, and also raised the cost of living because there were no more cheap imports from the West Bank.
One reason for this poverty increase may be the Israeli violence against Palestinians, which was doubled in 2014. That caused a sharp drop in tourism and therefore the dismissal of many people employed in the tourism industry.
In addition, tighter security checks at checkpoints around Jerusalem also played a role by making it harder to import products from the West Bank, which caused a marked rise in food prices.
Yet another problem is that one out of every three workers in Occupied Jerusalem lives in a neighbourhood outside the Apartheid Wall. That makes it very hard for them to work in the city.
Nevertheless, even having a job is no protection against poverty: fully 89 percent of East Jerusalem families with one breadwinner were earning below the poverty line.
The Workers’ Advice Centre said another problem is that many Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem, who are eligible for welfare benefits, do not receive them, usually due to bureaucratic obstacles.
Another problem, which is also related to the security situation, is that over the past two years thousands of Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem have been arrested, the vast majority of them people of working age.
Being arrested often leads to dismissal and makes it hard to find another job, since many employers will not hire someone with a police record.