Between 13 September 1993—when the Oslo Agreement was signed—and 31 December 2022, Israel demolished 2,787 structures in East Jerusalem, displacing 5,093 persons, including 2,582 children.
“Palestinians are not granted the construction permits needed for natural growth and development, and when they build without permits they open themselves to demolitions,” reads the fact sheet. “Overall, no less than 20,000 structures in East Jerusalem have demolition orders, but the exact number is impossible to ascertain because demolition orders are often challenged and are either upheld or frozen in court before implementation.”
In Silwan, for example, 60% of the structures have demolition orders to make way for a settlement and an archaeological park.
“East Jerusalem demolitions, and the discriminatory and restrictive planning regime, are elements of a coercive environment created by Israeli policies meant to pressure Palestinians out of the city,” notes the fact sheet. “Israel has illegally annexed East Jerusalem and handles the demolitions as an internal administrative matter carried out by the municipality.”
The fact sheet shows the number of demolitions during each of the last five years. “Overall during 2022, East Jerusalem amounted to 25% of the demolitions and 40% of the displacement,” notes the fact sheet. “Moreover, East Jerusalem children amounted to 40% of the displacement in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
The fact sheet also compares the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2022. “The first quarter of 2023 in East Jerusalem, compared to the first quarter of 2022 saw a 55% increase in demolitions, 66% increase in the number of displaced persons, and 56% increase in the number of displaced children,” notes the fact sheet.
The fact sheet also includes local voices collected through the WCC Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, as well as a call for action to Israel to give Palestinians in East Jerusalem the needed permits; stop the policy of demolition of Palestinian homes and structures; and pass fair, sustainable, and equitable urban planning regulations in East Jerusalem.