Watchdog Slams Israel for Discriminating Palestinians Over Residency Status

© AP Photo / Lefteris PitarakisA general view of The Dome of the Rock Mosque at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known by the Jews as the Temple Mount, is seen from the Mount of Olives in east Jerusalem. (File)
A general view of The Dome of the Rock Mosque at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, known by the Jews as the Temple Mount, is seen from the Mount of Olives in east Jerusalem. (File) - Sputnik International
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A human rights organization issued a report Tuesday, in which it accused Israeli authorities of discrimination against thousands of Palestinians from East Jerusalem who had been deprived of a residency status in the last five decades.

A general view shows the Dome of the Rock (C) and the Al-Aqsa mosques (R) in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem's old city on November 21, 2014 - Sputnik International
A Deeper Look Into Crisis Around Jerusalem Holy Sites
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to the Human Rights Watch report, the residency of over 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem was revoked between 1967 and the end of 2016. The Israeli authorities reportedly explained revocations by people's failure to prove that Jerusalem was "a center of life." In recent years, the withdrawal of residency status has been used as a punitive measure for Palestinians who were involved in attacks on Israelis.

"Israel claims to treat Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians… Entrenched discrimination against Palestinians in Jerusalem, including residency policies that imperil their legal status, feeds the alienation of the city’s residents," Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted as saying in the report.

According to the statistics provided in the report, fewer than 6,000 of about 15,000 Jerusalem's Palestinians, who applied for citizenship since 2003, have been granted their request.

The Human Rights Watch has also accused Israeli authorities of budget discrimination against Palestinians, which results in bad quality of infrastructure and inadequate health, recreation and education facilities.

"According to the Israeli rights organization Ir Amim, only 10.1 percent of the 2013 municipal budget was allocated for projects and spending in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, though Palestinians are 37 percent of the population," the report said.

Jerusalem is inhabited by 300,000 Palestinians who have a residency status but are not Israeli citizens. According to a legislation adopted in 1995, the status may be revoked if claimants cannot prove consecutive residence in Jerusalem for seven years.

Israel declared Jerusalem its capital in 1949, but the United Nations recognizes East Jerusalem, including the Old City, to be part of Palestine. In 1967, Israel recaptured East Jerusalem from the neighboring Arab nation of Jordan.

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