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Life in Occupied East Jerusalem

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Life in Occupied East Jerusalem - by Stephen Lendman

Founded in 1972, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is the country's leading human and civil rights organization through litigation, legal advocacy, education, and public outreach. In May 2009, it published "The State of Human Rights in East Jerusalem: Fact and Figures," then a follow-up June report titled, "Life in the Garbage: A Status Report of Sanitation Services in East Jerusalem." Both reports are reviewed below.

East Jerusalem by the Numbers

-- based on 2007 data, the Palestinian population numbered 260.5 thousand;

-- 66.8% of families are impoverished, including 74% of children; over 94,000 "live in a perpetual state of poverty;"

-- since occupying the city, Israel expropriated over one-third of its Arab-owned land;

-- by yearend 2007, over 50,000 exclusively Jewish housing units were built on expropriated land, none for Palestinians;

-- during the first half of 2009, the Jerusalem Municipality demolished 21 Palestinian homes, a process that continues relentlessly;

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-- in Arab areas, the city lacks 70 km of sewage lines;

-- about 160,000 Palestinians lack water system connections;

-- Palestinian areas lack 1,500 classrooms; the shortage shows up in the 50% dropout rate; and

-- about 9,000 Palestinians are deprived of school.

Illegally annexed in June 1967, Jerusalem is Israel's largest city. Today, the Separation Wall completely severs the Arab East from the surrounding area, severely impacting its residents' economy, culture political viability, and future.

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As an occupier, Israel is responsible for the population's welfare and basic rights under international humanitarian law - an obligation it's defiled for 43 years by failing to budget minimal resources needed to fulfill it.

Instead, it's practiced willful neglect by discriminating in planning, construction, land expropriation, and investment in physical infrastructure, government, and municipal services. As a result, East Jerusalem residents suffer worsening conditions of distress under Israel's plan to dispossess Palestinian residents to make the entire city exclusively Jewish.

"Life in East Jerusalem can be described as a continuing cycle of neglect, discrimination, poverty, and shortages," compounded by military occupation, the encircling Separation Wall, and worsening daily hardships. As a result, most Palestinians don't receive, and can't afford basic necessities most people take for granted.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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