East Jerusalem: Articles, statements and press releases


13 February 2019 |
Mr. Sabbagh standing in front of the family house. December 2018. ©  Photo by OCHA

Recent developments in East Jerusalem place an extended Palestinian refugee family from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood at risk of imminent forced eviction, following a lengthy legal struggle with an Israeli settler organization. Thirty-two members of the Sabbagh family currently reside in the family home, including six children; at least 19 additional people would be affected by the loss of their family home. This eviction may amount to a forcible transfer, which is a grave breach of the fourth Geneva Convention. Forced evictions contrary to international law also violate the right to adequate housing and the right to privacy, and may be incompatible with other human rights.

10 July 2018 |
Batan Al Hawa neighbouhood, Silwan, East Jerusalem. © Photo by OCHA

In recent decades, Israeli settler organizations, with the support of the Israeli authorities, have taken control of properties within Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem and established settlement compounds.

5 June 2018 |
Settlement compund in the Silwan neighborhood, East Jerusalem, November 2014. © Photo by OCHA

In recent decades, Israeli settler organizations, with the support of the Israeli authorities, have taken control of properties within Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, and established a number of settlement compounds there. The majority of cases have been challenged unsuccessfully in Israeli courts. Settlements are illegal under international law.

15 March 2018 |
Demolitions in Bir Onah, next to the ‘tunnels road’ that connects the Etzion settlement ©  Photo by OCHA

During the first two months of 2018, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized a total of 70 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank. On average, this is the same number of monthly demolitions recorded in 2017 (35), and around one-third of figures recorded in 2016 (91). Around 30 per cent of the structures targeted in 2018 were residential and 81 people were displaced. The remainder were livelihood-related or public structures, including two school classrooms. An assessment by humanitarian actors of the education sector indicates that 44 Palestinian schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are at risk of full or partial demolition or seizure due to the lack of an Israeli-issued building permit.

15 January 2018 |
: هدم مبنى من أربعة طوابق في العيسوية في القدس الشرقية، 11  يوليو  © - تصوير مكتب الأمم المتحدة لتنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية (أوتشا)

Many Palestinians in East Jerusalem are subject to a coercive environment with the risk of forcible transfer due to Israeli policies such as home demolitions, forced evictions and revocation of residency status. As is the case in Area C, a restrictive and discriminatory planning regime makes it virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain the requisite Israeli building permits: only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction and much of this is already built-up. Palestinians who build without permits face the risk of home demolition and other penalties, including costly fines, the payment of which does not exempt the owner from the requirement to obtain a building permit.3At least a third of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack an Israeli-issued building permit, potentially placing over 100,000 residents at risk of displacement.

11 September 2017 |
84-year-old Ayoub Shamasneh, on the day he and his family were evicted, 5 August 2017. © Photo by OCHA.

Recent developments in East Jerusalem highlight the coercive environment affecting many Palestinian residents of the city. Four recently-advanced settlement plans in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood threaten with eviction over 70 Palestinian residents.