Palestinian Jerusalemites started a new hunt for flats to live and a resettle again in Jerusalem, after army started to encircle Jerusalem with the Separation wall which will disconnect them from their city, especially the section of the wall which is being built around Al-Ram, (12Km north of Jerusalem).
Yousef Al-Natsha, 53 years old, fear that army would confiscate his Jerusalem ID after erecting the wall, and therefore ban him from reaching his Antiques shop in the old city of Jerusalem, which is his only source of living, or that his “Journey” to Jerusalem while heading to his shop or returning home would take several hours waiting on the “gates of the Wall”.
Natsha is not the only one; he is one among more than 120,000 Palestinians bearing Jerusalem ID’s living in neighborhoods which are going to be separated from Jerusalem after completing the Wall.
They look at there destiny which became vague, while the wall with its concrete blocks started to elevate each day more that the days which preceded it.
Al-Ram local Council said that 70% of the residents of Al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, are bearers of Jerusalem ID’s.
Al-Ram’s population is estimated by 63,000 residents.
Al-Natsha, in deep sadness for having to leave his home which he built and lived in for so many years, he have to move back inside Jerusalem in order not to lose his Jerusalem Identity card.
Obtaining a Jerusalem Identity cards, does not mean in Israel having an Israeli Nationality, it is more or less the right of permanent residency in Jerusalem, which includes social and health insurance and freedom of movement and work in Israel.
So far, bulldozers dug and placed huge concrete block on the side of the street to be erected in the area, as it was erected near the neighboring Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem.
Lately the construction was halted after the Israeli High Court issued a temporary order to freeze the construction in that area until it issues the final order after the hearings of the petitions files by Palestinians living there, demanding not to be separated from Jerusalem.
According to the Israeli plan the wall will completely encircle Jerusalem by 2005, and it contain 11 gates which the Palestinians have to go through in order to reach Jerusalem after completely blocking the Arab part of Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied territories since 1967.
Al-Ram local Council said that the number of residents did not exceed 3000 in 1967, but it multiplied tens of times as a result of natural human growth and after Jerusalemite Palestinian started to move into it.
Al-Natsha, as well as others living in Al-Ram, said that he was born in the old city of Jerusalem, but his family was expelled from their home in the “Jewish neighborhood” after occupying the east of Jerusalem in 1967.
Now he is living in Al-Ram, and settled there because its close to his store.
While the Palestinians consider Al-Ram part of Jerusalem district, Israel considers it part of the West Bank; they are not entitled to medical insurance, social services in addition to forcing them to obtain special permits for movement.
The wife of Al-Natshe, Rima, 43, said that tens of her neighbors already left Al-Ram, and headed back to Jerusalem in order not to lose their Jerusalem identity cards, others remained since they can’t afford guying or even renting homes in Jerusalem as a result of high housing prices in the city.
A small flat in Jerusalem costs approximately $150,000, while the rent varies between $700-1000 per month, monthly income for the average worker does not exceed $800 per month.
Rima is worried about the future of her sons, especially the older, Ahmad, who is studying Law at “Jerusalem University”, in Abu Dis, south of Jerusalem, which is also encircled by the Wall.
Several Palestinian Humanitarian organizations are skeptic about the real Israeli intentions of confiscating the ID’s from the residents which are part of the Authority of Jerusalem Municipality, such as Anata and Kafr Aqeb, since they will be separated from Jerusalem after erecting the Wall.
Ziad Hammouri, head of “Al-Quds Center for Social and Economical Rights” thinks that the “guarantees” which Israel is talking about, concerning not confiscating the ID’s from the residents, are only methods to avoid the “immigration” back to Jerusalem, which will eventually destroy the Israeli plan of emptying the Holy city from its Palestinian residents.
On the other hand, the Palestinians complain that the Wall is not being erected on the border of 1967, it is built on their lands, confiscating tens of thousands of Dunums and isolating the Palestinian populating from each other, making the Palestinian area a new form of nig Jails separated from each other.
Sarhan Al-Salaymeh, head of “Wall Resisting Committee” in Jerusalem, that the wall aims top confiscate the Palestinian land in order to build more settlements around Jerusalem.
An example which he provided, is the wall south Al-Ram which used 165 Dunums in order to widen the borders of the neighboring “Nabi Yacob” settlement.
Al-Salaymeh added that the wall will “imprison” 140 Palestinians north and northwest of Jerusalem in four isolated areas, which will ban thousand of workers and students from reaching their working places and education institutions in Jerusalem, in addition to obstructing the road to Hospitals in the city,
“The wall does not separate the Palestinian from the Israelis, it separates the Palestinians from each other”, Al-Salaymeh added.
And this is the way the residents live, Al-Natsha continues reading adds in newspapers and keeps phoning here and there, in an attempt to finds a home in Jerusalem and says,
“Jerusalem is not only an Identity Card, our Holy Places are there, my relatives are living there, and the grave of my father…”