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21.3.2020

HaMoked to the Prime Minister: the plan to ban the movement of East Jerusalem residents living beyond the Separation wall is unacceptable and illegal and must be cancelled immediately

On March 21, 2020, HaMoked and attorney Adi Lustigman wrote to Prime Minister Netanyahu, head of the provisional government, to urgently request that no decision be made to separate between the west and east parts of the de-facto united city of Jerusalem, as this would “discriminate against and cause actual harm to the Palestinian residents of the city, unconstitutionally, unreasonably and disproportionately”. The letter followed news on the media whereby, as part of measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Council were devising a plan – which they initiated, not the Ministry of Health – to prevent inhabitants of the neighborhoods close to the Shuafat checkpoint – neighborhoods inside the jurisdiction of Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries but east of the Separation Wall – from reaching other parts of the city. According to the media, the reason given for this plan is a supposed difficulty in stoping corona contamination from spreading from the West Bank to East Jerusalem and the State of Israel, due to the absence of a proper border between these neighborhoods and the Palestinian Authority.

HaMoked clarified that implementation of this plan would severely harm the basic rights of many residents of Israel who take part in family unification procedures with their spouses and children from the West Bank and live with them in these neighborhoods. Among the rights that would be harmed are the rights to freedom of movement, dignified living, health and equality, and in the current dire circumstances, also the most important right of all, the right to life.

HaMoked reminded the PM that in 1967, following the annexation of East Jerusalem, Israel declared the residents of the annexed areas were permanent residents of the state. In 2000, Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel was amended to establish that the area of Jerusalem includes the entire municipal area of the city as defined following the annexation; and that no authority pertaining to this area may be allotted to any foreign body, even temporarily.

HaMoked raised the concern that extraneous considerations were behind this plan and that it was in effect a plan to relinquish the health and safety of the population living in these neighborhood, given the lack of any indication that the state was also making plans to protect the lives and health of those living in these neighborhoods. HaMoked also noted that there seemed to be a dual and unacceptable motivation to continue benefiting from the crucial work of people from these neighborhoods in the vital facilities and businesses that must now operate optimally – including hospitals, pharmacies, the municipal sanitation department, food manufacturers and supermarkets; and at the same time to ignore and even abandon all the others living in these same neighborhoods. Moreover. Movement into and out of the West Bank is not restricted for the Jewish population living in the settlements there.

HaMoked asserted that should this plan – unacceptable both morally and legally – be implemented, HaMoked would have no choice but to urgently petition the High Court of Justice. HaMoked demanded that this plan be replaced by a series of urgent and substantive steps to protect the safety of the entire public, including those living in these neighborhoods, and to publish these steps clearly in Arabic.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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