News / Middle East

UN: Israeli Occupation Sapping East Jerusalem Economy

Israeli border police officer walks past Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City before a parade marking Jerusalem Day, May 8, 2013.
Israeli border police officer walks past Palestinians in Jerusalem's Old City before a parade marking Jerusalem Day, May 8, 2013.
Reuters
— The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem is driving its Palestinian residents into deeper economic isolation and they face far greater poverty than Jewish neighbors, said a U.N. report on the city at the heart of the Middle East conflict.
 
The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report, published on Thursday, is the first comprehensive investigation into the East Jerusalem economy carried out by the United Nations.
 
It comes as U.S. President Barack Obama tries to revive peace talks stalled since 2010, and he has pledged an investment initiative to spur flagging Palestinian growth.
 
UNCTAD said Israeli neglect was hindering development in East Jerusalem, which is isolated from neighboring Palestinian communities and not integrated into the broader Israeli economy.
 
The report said 77 percent of Jerusalem's non-Jewish households lived below the poverty line against 25 percent of Jewish families. Moreover, 84 percent of Palestinian children there live in poverty against 45 percent of Jewish children.
 
"Needless to say, if it were so inclined, the Israeli government could go much further in meeting its obligations as an occupying power by acting with vigor to improve the economic conditions in East Jerusalem and the well-being of its Palestinian residents," said the report.
 
Jerusalem authorities did not immediately reply to requests for comment on the report.
 
Israel captured Jerusalem in the 1967 war. For Israelis, it is their "eternal and indivisible" capital, lying at the center of Israel's national project to build a Jewish state.
 
For Palestinians, there can be no peace deal until Israel cedes them control over at least part of the city, a symbol of their national struggle and home to Islam's third holiest site.
 
The U.N. report said Israeli curbs on the movement of people and goods from the neighboring occupied West Bank had strangled East Jerusalem's development.
 
Israel says the restrictions, many of which were introduced during the last Palestinian uprising, are needed for security reasons. The U.N. report said they had caused the East Jerusalem economy to shrink by half in the last two decades relative to that of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
 
While the 1993 Oslo Peace accords gave Palestinians limited self-rule in the adjoining West Bank, Palestinians in Jerusalem are considered "permanent residents" of Israel.
 
But while they make up roughly one third of the city's total population, just seven percent of municipal spending is reserved for mainly Arab East Jerusalem, the U.N. said.
 
"It's clear that 300,000 Palestinians in the city pay taxes but receive different services," main researcher Raja Khalidi said. "[Jerusalem] is perhaps legally united and politically united, but certainly not socio-economically united."
 
The report recommends that while a resolution to the conflict remains elusive, Palestinian investors and business leaders must take the lead in forming a development strategy.
 
"I don't think focusing on the economy alone can work, but if there can be some relaxation of the political situation, then the economy might improve," Adnan Husseini, the Palestinians' governor of Jerusalem, told Reuters.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid