"The once- quite neighborhood is facing the jaws of Israel’s Bulldozers"
The construction of the wall on lands of Bir Onah Neighborhood

Posted: 17/08/2015

 

The Israeli security guards escorting machinery and bulldozers started since the early morning of 17 August 2015, leveling lands in Beit Jala city to resume the construction of the wall following a court order on the 6th of July 2015 allowing the Israeli occupation ministry of defense to commence the construction of the wall on lands of Beit Jala city.

In the meantime, the Israeli bulldozers are leveling lands and uprooting old Roman Olive trees in Bir Onah neighborhood and down the tunnel road (a section of the Israeli bypass road No. 60) owned by a number of Palestinian families in the area including Khalilieh, Al Shatleh, Abu Eid and Abumohor; where during the first week of August 2015, the Israeli Occupation Authorities team placed signs in many locations in Bir Onah neighborhood depicting the path of the wall in the area.

Bir Onah neighborhood is part of Beit Jala city, located in the area that was illegally and unilaterally annexed from the city for redrawing Jerusalem municipality boundaries back in the 1967, following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip. The majority of Palestinians living in Bir Onah neighborhood are East Jerusalem ID card holders.

The Israeli Segregation Wall plan on lands of Bir Onah Neighborhood

The latest Israeli revised route of the Segregation Wall route published on the Israeli occupation Ministry of Defense website in April 2007 showed that the wall will extend a length of 1.2 km on lands of Bir Onah neighborhood and will pass less than 100 meters from the Palestinians houses in the neighborhood. Additionally, the wall will isolate vast areas of agricultural lands, to become on the Israeli side of the wall.

Israel has already completed the section of the wall down the hill where Gilo Settlement is built, to the north of Bir Onah neighborhood; additionally, Israel has also lined the path of the wall section which will surround Har Gilo settlement, towards the main road leading to both Cremisan Monasteries (the monks and the Salesian nuns). The only wall section left to be constructed is the one that connects the two aforementioned sections together, starting from Bir Onah neighborhood and extending upwards the tunnel road, to finally connect with the section near Har Gilo settlement. If Israel implements its segregation plans in the area, it will isolate more than 3,100 dunums of lands owned by tens of Palestinian families in the city of Beit Jala; thus depriving them their right to access the Cremisan Monasteries, the school and the only open space left for Beit Jala city. See Map 1


Israel is waging for creating another "Kafr Aqab" on lands of Beit Jala city

With the construction of the wall on lands of Bir Onah neighborhood, where the majority of Palestinians hold Jerusalem ID cards, this part of Beit Jala city will be set outside the boundaries of Jerusalem municipality to become on the eastern side of the wall, under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian National Authority despite its location inside the Jerusalem municipal area; thus stripping Palestinian Jerusalemites off their right to acquire city services in return for what they pay of Arnona and other taxes, because they no longer will be living within the city boundaries. This clearly shows that the Israeli Government is skewing demographic balance in favor of Judaizing the city of Jerusalem by emptying the city from the high dense Palestinian communities  to ensure the "Israelization of the city".

Upon wall completion, Bir Onah neighborhood will be added to the list of Palestinian communities (12 communities inhabited by more than 120 thousand Palestinians) in occupied East Jerusalem that excluded from Jerusalem city’s municipal boundaries due to the construction of the wall, including Ar Ram,Al Bareed outskirt, Az Zayyem, Hizma, Anata, Shu’fat Camp, As Sawahrah Ash Sharqiya, Ash Sheikh Saed, Al Ezariyah, Qalandyia camp, Kafr Aqab, MIkhmas and Abu Dis.

This has been clear in the statement of the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem city, Nir Barakt on the 23rd of December 2011, which he said that “Israel should relinquish Jerusalem's Palestinian neighborhoods beyond the separation barrier despite the fact that their residents carry Israeli identity cards[1]. He also added that “"The municipal boundary of Jerusalem and the route of the separation fence must be identical to allow for proper administration of the city,". It is worth mentioning that Palestinians living in East Jerusalem are residents of the city because Israel declares the areas where they live as part of Jerusalem municipality boundary. However, the current changes on the municipality boundary will cancel their residency, and consequently, will negatively impact their lives and situation.

Israel is redrawing the boundaries of Jerusalem Municipality

The Israeli grip on Jerusalem city has been ensured through the construction of the Segregation wall around the city, wherein Israel managed to set many Palestinian communities outside the city’s municipal boundaries against their consent, and retained control over the newly annexed Palestinian lands, to sustain the future of its settlements in the city, while neglecting the negative impact of such a policy on Palestinians and their future as Jerusalemites.

Israel is also planning to create a “greater Jerusalem” for Jewish-only population in the city of Jerusalem by unilaterally annexing the three major settlement blocs that surround the city to its proper including the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc east of Jerusalem, the Giv’at Zeev settlement bloc northwest of Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc southwest of Jerusalem; This in turn will create a territorial and colonial contiguity around the city of Jerusalem and not only within the Municipality boundary and undermine the Palestinian presence;

Related Cases

 

[1]  Israel Gearing for Effective Separation of East Jerusalem Palestinians
http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/israel-gearing-for-effective-separation-of-east-jerusalem-palestinians-1.403034

 


Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem