PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemned the dangerous plan proposed by Israel’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin to split off the Palestinian neighborhoods situated next to the Apartheid Wall from the so-called Jerusalem Municipality, placing them under a new Israeli jurisdiction. Elkin’s plan specifically targets the Shoufat refugee camp, Kufr 'Aqab, al-Walaja, and a small part of al-Sawahreh. According to Haaretz, it is estimated that one-third to one-half of the roughly 100,000 – 150,000 Palestinian population holds Israeli identity cards and residency status:
“Should this be adopted, such a deplorable plan would forcibly displace thousands of indigenous Palestinian Jerusalemites and transform their status to “non-existence,” depriving them of the most basic rights and services, including shelter, healthcare and education. It is beyond a doubt that Israel is deliberately working to erase the Palestinian presence from our occupied capital and to distort the demographic, cultural, religious, and political character of the city.
The proposal is a direct breach of international law and conventions. In accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 476, “measures which have altered the geographic, demographic and historical character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem are null and void and constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and also constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.” Furthermore, under Article IV of the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (September 13, 1993), “the two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit,” and according to Article XXXI (7) of the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement (September 28, 1995), “neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” Without any remorse, Israel is flagrantly preventing the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
There is an urgent need for the international community to intervene immediately and to collectively exhibit the political will to hold Israel to account with punitive measures for its unlawful violations against the Palestinian people.
With each barrier implemented by the Israeli government, we will continue to utilize the necessary multilateral and diplomatic means to seek justice and protection for the Palestinian people and to obtain our freedom, dignity and sovereignty on our own land.”