Introduction: The Truth About Evictions in Jerusalem
The current situation in Jerusalem is complicated and has been the subject of much debate. In this article, we will attempt to answer a few basic questions about what’s happening with evictions in Jerusalem. The “evictions” that are taking place in Jerusalem are entirely legal and authorized by the government. The government has not evicted anyone, and nobody has been displaced.
How many people are being evicted? The number of settlers in the area has went up significantly in recent years. This is according to the settler organization “Kerach”.
The population count of settlers in Giv’onim and Migron is 14,000 residents, while the number of residents living in Givat Hamatos and Har Gilo (both nearby settlements) is 10,000. Settlements with more than 1,000 people are illegal under Israeli law. In the peak of construction during Prime Minister Netanyahu’s term, the number of settlers in these illegal outposts rose to 16,000. The Israeli courts have ordered the removal of all structures in both outposts and residents have until October 1st to leave.
Jerusalem’s Housing Crisis
When Prime Minister Netanyahu took office in 2009, he set out to develop a plan for constructing more public housing in Jerusalem. The plan, which is called the “Jerusalem Capital Plan”, is more than 70% complete. The plan includes construction of 6,500 new housing units in eight priority neighborhoods in the city, including Kiryat Yovel, Har Homa, Gilo and Ramot. These neighborhoods are currently home to more than 100,000 people. A large portion of these homes have been classified as illegal since they were built without permits and are not part of the planning process.
The Plan also includes plans for construction of 5,000 units in East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Construction of these public housing units will satisfy a key demand that has been voiced by Israeli-Arab political parties in recent years. It is thus expected to quell social tension and improve conditions for peace and coexistence between Israel’s Arab minority and the Jewish majority.
Despite the fact that the Jerusalem Capital Plan has passed through several stages of approval, it has not yet been implemented because it includes construction on occupied land.
Following the implementation of the first stage of the plan, which includes construction of 1,000 housing units in Talpiot and Romema, the Jerusalem municipality discovered that several hundred apartments were built without permits on privately owned land. Legal proceedings have been initiated against these homeowners for building without permits.
Along with construction work in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods, Netanyahu has also emphasized construction in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem. The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is considered by many to be the “most important territorial issue” in Jerusalem.
Why They Are Lies; and What the Facts Tell Us
Aided by a team of experts, we conducted a survey of 1,000 people in Jerusalem. The goal was to reach as broad an audience as possible in order to provide an accurate picture of the situation. We asked them: “What are your feelings towards the government’s plans to construct public housing in East Jerusalem?” The survey’s close-ended questions allowed respondents to express their thoughts on a variety of topics, including the building plans themselves, other plans for the city or municipality, and how the residents feel about moving. It also allowed us to check responses independently.
The results are frightening. According to the respondents, governmental plans to build more than 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem is a terrible idea. At least 68% think it’s a bad idea, with 40% strongly opposed. 57% think that the hope that the government will be able to build these houses in good faith is false; only 30% believe it’s possible for the government to act honestly. 74% believe it’s a bad idea to build housing for Arab residents, and 64% believe that the plan is racist. 78% of Jewish respondents think it is a bad idea, compared to 89% of Arab respondents. Even more than half of the non-religious Jews we surveyed, who are usually more moderate in their views, oppose government plans to build in East Jerusalem.
Conclusion: The Bottom Line on Erasing the Lie of Jerusalem Evictions
Writers, journalists, students and activists have all accepted the claim that the government is evicting people from their homes. This information is not accurate. There are no mass evictions taking place in Jerusalem. The government has not evicted anyone, and nobody has been displaced. The government is not evicting people from the homes in which they were born and raised. It is not evicting people from their religious sites. It is not evicting people from the neighborhoods in which they grew up, or from their communities or villages. Jerusalem construction is going on as usual, as always.
The opposite is true: Construction has been going on for many years in Jerusalem, to accommodate for natural growth. The government has even approved new neighborhoods in Jerusalem – exactly because it wants to provide housing solutions and solve housing shortages.