Saturday, January 15, 2011

Can the European Union effectively take a stand against the Israeli Occupation while Obama remains silent? It looks like it's trying, but without U.S. support, any changes would be implemented at a glacial pace. It's too bad we're sitting on this report right here. And in the meantime...

Facts on the ground
Facts on the ground
Making...everyone else look like fools
With your facts on the ground

Full EU Envoy Report

A few key points...

3. EU policy regarding East Jerusalem is based on the principles set out in UN Security Council Resolution 242, notably the inadmissibility of acquisition of territory by force. In accordance with international law, the EU regards East Jerusalem as occupied territory and has never recognised the Israeli 1980 Basic Law (Jerusalem, Capital of Israel) which annexed Jerusalem as Israel’s “complete and united” capital and modified the city’s municipal borders.

7. The demographic factor is a central element in Israeli policy. In 1967, Israel extended its jurisdiction over East Jerusalem. At the same time, by adding some 70 km² it redefined the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. Today, some 924 000 people live within these municipal boundaries, of which around 30 percent are Palestinian. It has been a stated aim in official planning documents to prevent the Palestinian population from becoming more than 30 percent of the municipality’s total population. Successive Israeli governments have pursued a policy of transferring Jewish population into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law.

23. The planning regime of the Jerusalem municipality remains a source of concern as it places severe restrictions on the building of Palestinian housing in East Jerusalem. Many Palestinians live under the threat of having their house demolished and being evicted, adding to the existing tensions. These restrictions result in a housing shortage in East Jerusalem and regular demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures.

24. According to the planning regime, 13 percent of the land in East Jerusalem is currently zoned for Palestinian construction (compared to 35 percent which is allocated for Israeli settlements). Only within this 13 percent, which is already densely built upon, Palestinians have the possibility of obtaining an Israeli-issued permit to build, repair or maintain their homes and livelihood-related structures. Administrative requirements, however, make it extremely difficult for Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem to obtain such permits. In addition, the procedures take several years and usually entail a prohibitive cost.

25. Over the past years Palestinians have received fewer than 200 building permits per year. Based on the population growth, permits for 1 500 housing units annually would be necessary to cover the housing needs.

26. As a consequence of the restrictive planning regime, there is an acute housing shortage in East Jerusalem. In addition, Palestinian houses are overcrowded and in a bad condition. The planning regime poses a difficult dilemma for Palestinian families: they have the choice between migrating outside the municipal area of Jerusalem (and losing their residency status) or building without the necessary building permit. According to UN OCHA, at least 32% of Palestinian structures in East Jerusalem lack such a permit, putting approximately 88 000 Palestinians at risk.

32. In June this year, the Israeli authorities invoked “breach of loyalty to the state of Israel” in order to withdraw the residency rights for three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council as well as for a former Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

34. The construction of the separation barrier in East Jerusalem, which started in 2002, continued throughout 2010. In the area around the Jerusalem municipality, the barrier measures around 168 kilometres, of which only 3 percent runs along the 1967 Green Line. The main reason behind this deviation is the integration of 12 Israeli settlements (and space for their future expansion).