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24.6.2018

The State announced its proposed solution for the inhuman conditions at the Ministry of Interior and the Employment Services building in East Jerusalem: Palestinians can now receive services at any Employment Services bureau in the city; no immediate solution to the severe overcrowding at the Ministry of Interior was presented

In a High Court of Justice hearing held on March 15, 2018, regarding a petition submitted by HaMoked and Ma'an, the Judges severely criticized the difficult conditions and extreme overcrowding in the joint building of the Ministry of Interior's Population and Immigration Authority and the Employment Services in East Jerusalem – the only bureaus where Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are permitted to receive services on these matters. The Judges urged the state to find "creative solutions" for the problem within three months.


On June 21, 2018 the State submitted an updating notice to the Court, in which it presented its proposed solutions for the problem. The State announced that residents of East Jerusalem will henceforth be permitted to receive services at Employment Services bureaus throughout the city, excluding employment seekers who have already registered with the bureau in Wadi Joz, though this distinction was not explained. This decision revokes the division between the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem and all other residents of the city, granting them equal access to employment services throughout the city for the first time.


Regarding solutions for the overcrowding and long queues for services from the Population and Immigration Authority, the State described several changes, most of which had already been brought to HaMoked's attention. Firstly, the State announced that work is underway in the Qalandiya area, in the "hopes" that a new sub-branch of the Population Authority in East Jerusalem will open in August, providing registry services to Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. It was also stated that "an additional sub-branch will open in the East Jerusalem area within a year." Additionally, it was mentioned that the Population Authority has started permitting the renewal of biometric travel documents for residents of East Jerusalem at any bureau in the country, but only until the end of 2018, and subject to the presentation of a valid ID card and a previous travel document issued in the past seven years.


In addition to these changes, the State described renovations being carried out to "expand the lobby" in the existing building in Wadi Joz, and announced that awnings had been put in place at the entrance to the bureau in an effort to ease the wait outside in the sun and rain.


For the past three months, HaMoked and Ma'an have documented the severe overcrowding and the inhuman conditions at the entrance to the joint bureau in Wadi Joz. The State's "solutions" do not ameliorate these conditions in any meaningful way. Past experience shows that promises regarding new facilities can take years to materialize. Meanwhile adults and children, including the sick and elderly, are waiting for hours in the hot sun to receive basic and vital services from one of the bureaus.


The State has failed, thus far, to protect the rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians to access basic services from public authorities in a respectful and efficient manner. As such, the State must act immediately to open all Population Authority bureaus to the residents of East Jerusalem, in all areas of service, and at the very least provide registry services (such as issuance of ID cards or travel documents) at all bureaus. Only this will put an immediate end to the severe overcrowding and long queues faced by the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.


mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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