Nearly 200,000 Israeli settlers reside in settlements established in occupied East Jerusalem, which has been unlawfully annexed to Israel; 35% of the annexed areas were expropriated and allocated to settlements.
About 2,000 settlers live in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods, in houses which have been taken over by various means, including the application of the Absentee Property Law and the processing in Israeli courts of claims over properties allegedly owned by Jews prior to 1948, among others.
Such settlements are concentrated in the so-called ‘Holy Basin’ area – comprising the Muslim and Christian quarters of the Old City, Silwan, Sheikh Jarrah, At-Tur (Mount of Olives), Wadi Joz, Ras al-‘Amud, and Jabal Al Mukabbir.
Beit Hanina, a Palestinian suburb in the northern part of East Jerusalem, has most recently become the target for such settlement activities, which include a plan to build around 60 new housing units for settlers (Peace Now).
In April 2012, two Palestinian refugee families (comprising 13 people) were forcibly evicted by the Israeli authorities from their houses in Beit Hanina, following a court case brought by an Israeli citizen, supported by a settler association, claiming ownership over the property. The houses were subsequently handed over to settlers.
In Sheikh Jarrah, nine Palestinian families were evicted in 2008-9 and their homes handed over to settlers. Another 500 residents are at risk of forced eviction and displacement for the same reason. Similar incidents have taken place in the Old City, Jabal Al Mukabbar and Ras Al-‘Amud.
Since the beginning of 2009, one Palestinian was killed and at least 430 have been injured in the context of settler attacks and clashes with Israeli forces and private security guards in and around settlements in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah alone.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.