Jerusalem by the numbers: Poverty, demolitions, and exile

As nationalist Israelis celebrate the ‘unification’ of the city, when Israeli troops occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, a look at the data shows a far bleaker picture of life for Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents.

Israeli border policemen stop and check Palestinians going out of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, October 15, 2015. (Activestills.org)
Israeli border policemen stop and check Palestinians going out of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, October 15, 2015. (Activestills.org)

The following is a collection of facts, figures, and statistics about Jerusalem compiled and published on the occasion of “Jerusalem Day.” Nationalist Israelis mark Jerusalem Day on Sunday to mark the anniversary of the conquest of East Jerusalem and the Old City in 1967. The celebrations include the “march of the flags,” where flag-bearing Jewish revelers march through the Palestinian neighborhoods of the Old City, chanting racist, violent and ultra-nationalistic slogans. Any counter protest by Palestinian residents is rarely tolerated by police.

While Jewish Israelis celebrate the “reunification” of Jerusalem, data shows that the city is anything but unified. From concrete walls that separate to budgets that discriminate, East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem — despite being a part of the same municipality — are hardly the same, let alone a unified city. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are just that – residents; they were not granted Israeli citizenship and do not have the right to vote in national elections, do not hold Israeli passports thousands have had their right to live in their home city revoked with the stroke of a pen.

The following figures were taken from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), published May 9, 2018, and Ir Amim (IA), published in January 2018.

Demography:

  • Palestinians comprise 37.8 percent of Jerusalem’s residents. (CBS)
  • 61 percent (521,900) of all Jerusalemites live across the Green Line in East Jerusalem — in occupied territory. Of those, 320,300 are Palestinian and 211,600 are Jewish settlers. Despite a theoretical right to live anywhere in the city, a mere 1 percent of Palestinian Jerusalemites live in West Jerusalem. (IA)
  • 78.2 percent of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem live in poverty. The poverty rate for Palestinian Jerusalemites of all ages is 72.9 percent. For Jews in the city, the poverty rate is 29.8 percent. Both are higher than any other major Israeli city. (IA)
  • Israeli authorities revoked the residency of and exiled 94 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem in 2016, 52 of whom were women and children (data for 2017 has yet to be published). Between 1967 and 2015, Israel revoked the residency of 14,500 Palestinian Jerusalemites. (IA)

Geography:

  • Since 1967, Israel has expropriated 38.3 percent of the land in the area known as East Jerusalem for the construction of Jewish neighborhoods. Another 14.7 percent of East Jerusalem has been declared “green” areas,” in which construction is forbidden. (IA)
  • 48% of Jews in Jerusalem said they are satisfied with the amount of green spaces in their communities, compared with only 2 percent of the Arab population. (CBS)
  • 88% of Jews and 49% of Arabs in Jerusalem said they are generally satisfied with the area they live in. (CBS)
  • Israeli authorities demolished 86 homes and 87 other structures in East Jerusalem over the past year, and there are eviction proceedings taking place against 193 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. (IA)

Discrimination:

  • In 2013, the last year for which there is data available, only 10 percent of the Jerusalem municipal budget was earmarked for the city’s Palestinian residents. Five divisions of the municipality earmarked a mere 5 percent of their budget to Palestinian Jerusalemites. (IA)
  • There is a shortage of at least 2,557 classrooms for Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. The city is building 37 a year. At that pace it would take nearly 70 years to close the gap. (IA)
  • While there are 19 welfare offices serving the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem, only four welfare offices are located in Palestinian neighborhoods. (IA)
  • Only 59 percent of Palestinian households in East Jerusalem are officially connected to the water grid. (IA)

On a positive note, 91 percent of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and 74 percent of Jewish residents said they have faith in the healthcare system in the city. At least there’s that. (CBS)