Friday, September 8, 2006

'Quiet transfer' in East Jerusalem nears completion

by Elodie Guego
Forced Migration Review

(Elodie Guego, a lawyer specialised in human rights law, worked as a volunteer in the OPT in 2005 and is currently Assistant Country Analyst at the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Geneva)

"Israel is close to implementing a long-term plan to transform the demographic structure of annexed East Jerusalem. Policies to revoke the residency permits of Palestinian Jerusalemites and to Judaise the city have been described as ethnic cleansing.

The construction of the Wall along and inside Jerusalem's municipal borders will definitively prevent the return of Palestinians expelled from Jerusalem by land confiscations, house demolitions or pressure from extremist settlers' groups. They will lose their rights to permanent residency in Jerusalem under the 'centre of life' policy and will no longer be able to enter the city without special permits. The properties that they have abandoned in Jerusalem risk being seized under Israeli's Absentee Property Law.

This eight-metre high Wall has given Israel a pretext to achieve long-established goals under the guise of security. Jerusalem is at the heart of all the antagonisms in the Middle East. International silence and failure to speak out against Israeli's transfer strategy is likely to have irreversible consequences and destroy regional prospects for peace. The transfer of Palestinians will soon be an undisputed reality but should not remain 'quiet'."

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