Interview with by Sarah Levy, writing for MondoWeiss:
”About 80 Israelis rallied last Wednesday night outside of Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat’s house, chanting and banging drums in protest against the intensified attack on East Jerusalem that has taken place over the last week and to demand an end to what they call the policy of collective punishment toward the residents of East Jerusalem. Protesters chanted “There’s no such thing as illegal houses, there is such thing as racist laws,” and “Arresting children does not bring security,” and held signs such as “Discrimination and marginalization in East Jerusalem = Apartheid.”
…Although Palestinians living in East Jerusalem contribute 40% of the city’s taxes, they only receive 8% of municipal spending, resulting in dire situations for schools, hospitals, and other vital city infrastructure like water, sewage, and roads.
Palestinians are also rarely granted building permits by the state of Israel, forcing growing families to either move outside of East Jerusalem and risk losing their residency, or build illegally and risk demolition.
Moriel Rothman-Zecher, an Israeli born in West Jerusalem, elaborated on the chant ‘There’s no such think as illegal houses, there is such think as racist laws’:
“What does it mean that most of the houses in East Jerusalem that are built are illegal? It means that the law doesn’t allow Palestinians living in East Jerusalem—or the West Bank for that matter—to get legal permits to build and thus their houses are illegal and thus they are destroyed on a regular basis.”
Speakers and signs additionally highlighted the unjust “collective punishment” that Palestinian East Jerusalemites are subject to.
“Kids are being arrested in the middle of the night, pulled out of their homes, interrogated without their parents, threatened while under arrest, and in some cases, held under house arrest once they’re released from jail so they can’t return to school,” said Rothman-Zecher.
“If you look at the pattern of what’s going on, these children’s arrests, they’re not remedial efforts, but part of this policy of collective punishment. The goal is that every young boy in Silwan, even as young as 7-years-old, should be too afraid to dare to challenge the occupation in any form because he knows that so many people have been arrested and he knows that he could be arrested at any time.”
This systematic attack on East Jerusalemites’ ability to live normal lives is part of Israel’s attempt at “Judaization” (de-Arabization) such as the “70-30 policy” cited in the Jerusalem 2020 Master Plan. The policy states the goal of maintaining a demographic balance of at most 70-part Jews to 30-part Arabs and recommends various means of removing the Arab population and replacing them with Jews. (For more on the Master Plan see this summary here: PDF.)”