East Jerusalem – By the Numbers

Photography: Ronit Sela

Ahead of Jerusalem Day, marked in Israel this Wednesday, 8 May 2013, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel presents you with up-to-date facts and figures on the life of Palestinians in Jerusalem, detailing the effects that the Israeli policies have on their basic rights.




East Jerusalem – Facts and Figures


Population: 371,844 Palestinians, comprising 39% of Jerusalem’s total population.[1]


Poverty Rate: 79.5% of East Jerusalem residents and 85% of East Jerusalem children live below the poverty line – the worst rate of all time.[2] 


Welfare Offices:  3 offices in East Jerusalem serve more than one third of Jerusalem’s population while 18 such offices operate in West Jerusalem; a fourth East Jerusalem office is expected to open; individual social worker’s caseloads in East Jerusalem are approximately double those of West Jerusalem.


Children at Risk:  In 2012, welfare services identified 7,748 at-risk children in East Jerusalem; 86 children who suffered from violence and neglect were taken out of their homes over the past three years; because of the shortage of welfare workers, not all cases are fully and speedily attended to.[3]


Shortage of Classrooms: Only 46% of students study in official municipal schools; there is a chronic shortage of over 1000 classrooms in East Jerusalem; despite commitments made by Israeli authorities to the courts, only several dozen classrooms are built annually.[4]


Shortage of Pre-Kindergartens: There are 10 municipal pre-kindergartens in East Jerusalem as compared to 77 municipal pre-kindergartens in West Jerusalem for the secular sector and 96 for the national-religious sector; a government decision to apply the Free Education Law to children aged 3-4 cannot be implemented across East Jerusalem.


Secondary School and University:  The drop-out rate for 12th graders in East Jerusalem is 40%[5]; students who pass the Palestinian high-school matriculation tests (“Tawjihi”) find it difficult to gain acceptance into Israeli universities; some of the degrees offered by Palestinian universities, including the local Al-Quds University, are not recognized in Israel.


Employment: 25% of Palestinians living in Jerusalem and its immediate surroundings are employed in the hotel and restaurant sector; 19% in education; 19% in public service;[6] the sole Palestinian industrial park in Jerusalem’s Wadi Joz neighborhood is in danger of downsizing.


Planning and Building: The area designated for Palestinian housing covers only 14% of East Jerusalem, and only 7.8% of Jerusalem in total; the maximum building ratio allowed in Palestinian neighborhoods is generally between 25%-50%, while in Jewish areas it stands between 75%-125%.[7]


Restricted Development: Since 1967, Israeli governments have expropriated one-third of Palestinian lands in Jerusalem, upon which thousands of apartments have been built for the city’s Jewish population; 35% of zoned areas in Palestinian neighborhoods have been designated as “open landscape areas” on which it is forbidden to build; outline plans for Palestinian neighborhoods exclude most of the lands owned by the residents.[8]


Housing and Crowding: Between 2005-2009, only 13% of the Jerusalem housing units granted building permits were in Palestinian neighborhoods[9]; in Jewish neighborhoods, there is an average of 20 square meters of housing per resident, compared to 12 square meters in Palestinian neighborhoods.[10]


The Separation Barrier and Roadblocks: The building of 142 kilometers of the Separation Barrier, the closing of passage points, and the implementation of an “entry permit regime” have effectively cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank, exacerbating the already dire economic and social conditions for residents.[11]


Neighborhoods Beyond the Separation Barrier: An estimated 90,000 Jerusalem residents with Israeli IDs living in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ras Khamis, Dahiyat al-Salaam, the Shuafat Refugee Camp, Kafr Aqab, and Samiramis are cut off from the bulk of the city, and need to pass through checkpoints on a daily basis in order to get to work, attend school, obtain medical services, visit family, etc.[12]


Revocation of Residency: In 2012, the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of 116 Palestinians from Jerusalem; since 1967, the residency status of 14,263 has been revoked and rescinded; these former residents are no longer permitted to live in their city.[13]


Uncertain Status:  965 families in Jerusalem are undergoing “family reunification” procedures in which one family member or more is not eligible for Israeli residency status, a condition that severely harms their basic rights in areas such as health and welfare.


Health Services: 25 mother-and-baby medical centers exist in West Jerusalem compared to only 4 in East Jerusalem; 80%-85% of the adults and 90% of the minors in need of mental health services do not receive needed support.[14]


East Jerusalem Hospitals: In 2010, 71.7% of the patients treated in East Jerusalem hospitals were from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The building of the Separation Barrier and the restrictions on entry from the West Bank, imposed both on patients and medical staff, have led to a severe financial crisis in East Jerusalem’s hospitals.[15]


Sewage: There is a shortage of some 50 kilometers of sewage pipes; residents rely instead on septic tanks; repeated flooding of these systems causes serious health hazards; there are ongoing difficulties connecting residents to the urban water system[16]


Postal Services: There are only 9 Post Offices in East Jerusalem compared with 42 in West Jerusalem; delivery of mail is infrequent and irregular.


[1] Population registry, updated 31.12.12. The data on number of residents is divided according to Jewish and non-Jewish.

[2] Israeli National Insurance Institute Annual Report for 2011, table 11A p. 31


[3] Data provided to ACRI by the East Jerusalem welfare services, 2012-2013

[4]  Failed Grade: East Jerusalem’s Failing Educational System, ACRI and Ir Amim, August 2012


[5] Data provided by the Jerusalem Education Administration for the school year 2010-2011

[6]  Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics – Jerusalem, 2011

[7]  Petition to Administrative Court no. 36572-04-13 Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights and ACRI v. Chairperson of the Jerusalem District Planning Committee et al.


[8] Ibid

[9] Press release, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, 9 January 2011

[10] Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem 2012, The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, Table F/22

[11]  Barrier Update, United Nations OCHA, July 2011 p. 4


[12]  The Security Fence around Jerusalem: Possible Implications, Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2006, p. 34

[13] Data provided by the Interior Ministry to HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual.

[14] Letter to the Executive-Director of the Ministry of Health from The Forum for the Development of Mental Health Services in East Jerusalem, 21 March 2013

[15] The Impact of the Barrier on Health, Special Barrier report, UN OCHA and WHO, July 2011


[16]  Data provided to ACRI by the Gihon water and sewage company

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