As Jerusalemites, in 1967 when Palestinians
were occupied by Israel, they were given identity cards to indicate that they
are residents of the city of Jerusalem. But are not citizens of Israel - simply
residents. As residents, Palestinians are given permanent residency if they stay
in the city, and if their centre of life is in the city. But if they live
outside of city for seven years, then they have no right to come back.
In practice, it works differently. Students who were away for two continuous
years, came back to find their drivers license and insurance cancelled.
Palestinians are treated as residents if they stay in Jerusalem, but many
Jerusalemites found themselves in Diaspora and couldn’t come back, nor their
children. These Palestinians have no right to come to Jerusalem. Now with recent
laws, Jerusalemites who marry West Bankers cannot live in Jerusalem because
their offspring cannot get the right of residency.
This way slowly but surely Israel is getting rid of as many Jerusalemite
Palestinians as possible and maintaining demographic control over the city.
Along the way it has carved out as much land as possible and left out on the
Israeli side as many Palestinians as possible, and created five or six ghettos
in the process. Shaafut refugee camp is a good example. It is barely 2km away
from the Old City, yet a wall will be built around it, carving it out to be on
the Palestinian side and hence getting rid of 10, 000 Jerusalem ID holders. Of
course they tell them they will pass state-of-the-art crossings, but really
these people live like prisoners.
And, over the years, they will have difficulty getting to Jerusalem and lose the
centre of life in the city and right of residency.
Israeli soldier with an identification card in Jerusalem