news.bbc.co.uk
ONE-MINUTE WORLD NEWS

Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009
E-mail this to a friend
Printable version
Surge in East Jerusalem Palestinians losing residency

About quarter of a million Palestinians and Israeli Arabs live in East Jerusalem
Israel stripped a record number of Palestinians of their right to live in East Jerusalem last year, an Israeli rights group has said.
Some 4,570 people had their residency rights removed, more than a third of the total number since Israel took control of East Jerusalem in 1967.
Palestinians fear an attempt to reduce their presence in Jerusalem, which both they and Israel claim as their capital.
Israel says most of those stripped of their rights were living abroad.
Palestinians living in East Jerusalem were offered Israeli citizenship after Israel occupied the area in 1967 and later annexed it.
Many refused, not wanting to recognise Israeli sovereignty, and were instead given residency.
But, according to the Israeli rights organisation Hamoked, if these Palestinians live abroad for seven years, or gain citizenship or residency elsewhere, they lose their Israeli residency.
Hamoked obtained the figures from the Interior Ministry using the Freedom of Information Act.
The organisation said that some of those who had lost their citizenship may now be stateless, or may not even be aware they have lost their residency.
Family visits and students studying abroad would be affected, it said.
The state of Israel pays billions of shekels a year in stipends to people who don't even live here
Meir Sheetrit
Former interior minister

Obstacles to peace: Jerusalem
Hamoked executive director Dalia Kerstein said the phenomenon had "reached frightening dimensions".
Israel's interior ministry said it had carried out a "comprehensive check" that people listed as residents of Israel had their lives centred in the country, and many were found to be living abroad.
Former Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit, who initiated the survey, told the BBC "it is a very normal, regular idea that people who are not living here for a long time" are not supposed to be residents.
He said those who had appealed had been approved to stay.
"The state of Israel pays billions of shekels a year in stipends to people who don't even live here," he told Haaretz.
The figures come amid Palestinian fears that Israel is trying to increase its control over East Jerusalem and cut it off from the West Bank, through the building of the West Bank barrier, house demolitions and evictions.
The right-leaning government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Jerusalem is Israel's "eternal, undivided capital".
But it says recent demolitions and evictions are simply issues of law enforcement.
On Tuesday, a draft document leaked to Haaretz suggested the EU was considering hardening its stance on the city.
According to the newspaper, the document called for East Jerusalem to become the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The EU has never recognised Israel's annexation of the east of the city, which is illegal under international law.
Its formal position has been that the city's status is to be decided in negotiations, although some EU leaders have called for it to be a future shared capital.
Israel's foreign ministry reacted angrily to the reports, saying the apparent move by Sweden, which holds the EU presidency, "harms the European Union's ability to take part as a significant mediator... between Israel and the Palestinians".
It said the EU should be pressuring the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table, but the step would have "the opposite effect."
About a third of Jerusalem's residents - a quarter of a million people - are Palestinians with Israeli residency or Israeli-Arabs, who have Israeli citizenship.
Israel's annexation of the east of the city has never been recognised by the international community.


Bookmark with:
Delicious Digg reddit Facebook StumbleUpon
What are these?
E-mail this to a friend
Printable version


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
Hamoked
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

TOP MIDDLE EAST STORIES
Iranian scientist 'heading home'
Attack on Yemen security offices
Libyan 'Gaza ship' docks in Egypt
| News feeds


MOST POPULAR STORIES NOW
SHARED
READ
WATCHED/LISTENED
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
BBC News
Most popular now, in detail
FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

MOST POPULAR NOW
The most read story in Africa is: Saudi 'reprieve' in sorcery case


SKIP TO TOP
PRODUCTS & SERVICES
E-mail news
Mobiles
Widgets & Alerts
News feeds
Podcasts


News Front PageAfricaAmericasAsia-PacificEuropeMiddle EastSouth AsiaUKBusinessHealthScience & EnvironmentTechnologyEntertainmentAlso in the newsVideo and AudioProgrammesHave Your SayIn PicturesCountry ProfilesSpecial ReportsSportWeatherOn This DayEditors' BlogBBC World ServiceARABICPERSIANPASHTOTURKISHFRENCHMORE
Salam Fayyad Hezbollah Sheikh Nasrallah Ehud Olmert Mahmoud Abbas Ismail Haniya Fouad Siniora Mahmoud Zahhar Amir Peretz Shimon Peres Khaled Meshaal Hamas Islamic Jihad Gaza Strip Al-Aqsa Brigade Ariel Sharon