On Sunday, December 18, refugees from Shu’fat refugee camp and Israeli activists protested the opening of a new Jerusalem five-lane checkpoint. The Alternative Information Center (AIC) notes that the checkpoint will block the 50,000 residents of Shu’fat refugee camp, from the remainder of the city. This checkpoint is part of a broader plan I posted on earlier that will all but cut the West Bank in half, and complete the physical annexation of East Jerusalem.
Many Shu’fat refugees hold Jerusalem IDs, and the checkpoint compromises their ability to prove that Jerusalem is their “center of life.” Under Israeli Ministry of Interior policy, Palestinians that live in Jerusalem hold residency permits, not citizenship, which can be revoked. AIC reports:
Many of the residents hold Jerusalem residency. But to keep this status, they must prove that Jerusalem remains the ‘center’ of their life. According to activists, the checkpoint–which separates one area of Jerusalem from another, impeding freedom of movement–makes this already difficult task more difficult. Scores of Palestinian residents of Jerusalem lose their residency rights every year; 2008 marked an all-time high, with the Israeli government stripping over 4000 Palestinians of their status.
IDF in Shu’fat refugee camp after checkpoing protest.
(Photo: Mya Guarnieri)
The protest ended with Israeli Defense Forces entering the refugee camp “with their weapons drawn,” after firing rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinian youth who threw stones at the checkpoint.