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guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 27 March 2012
Jerusalem is a city that embodies the cultural heritage of three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Yet Palestinians – both Christian and Muslim – are being driven out of Jerusalem. Just one example of this ethnic cleansing is taking place in Silwan, where 1,000 residents are facing imminent eviction as their homes make way for the King David tourist park. In response to the urgency of the situation, an international alliance is mounting a series of peaceful protests worldwide on 30 March to call for an end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, the traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life, is increasingly being isolated and restricted by Israeli policies. As the Israeli human rights organisation B'Tselem points out, ever since Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, in violation of international law, "the government of Israel's primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city". Some 200,000 settlers now live in illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.Concern over these policies is not limited to pro-Palestinian activists, or Israeli human rights groups. An EU Heads of Mission report last year highlighted the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes, and restrictions on legal and religious freedoms. Palestinians who have lived for generations in East Jerusalem can lose their residency rights if they leave the city because of a Kafkaesque notion that the centre of their life is no longer in Jerusalem, while Israeli citizens retain guaranteed citizenship. Since Israel's occupation of East Jerusalem, more than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency rights revoked. The 270,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem can find themselves ordered to demolish their homes or businesses, or being forced to watch whilst settlers take over their homes....READ MORE