On Sunday May 25th, NIF Australia will be showing “3 Houses”, a new documentary about three Palestinian families who live inside Jerusalem, but are separated from the rest of the city by the separation barrier.
After the short film, we’ll have a discussion with activists who advocate for the rights of these residents – Ronit Sela, the Director of the Human Rights in East Jerusalem project for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), as well as Attorney Moien Odeh, a Palestinian lawyer who also lives in Jerusalem, beyond the barrier.
Life in East Jerusalem, where more than 370,000 Palestinians live, comprising 39% of Jerusalem’s total population, could not be more different from the Jewish-majority West Jerusalem. Even though the city is politically united, when it comes to the provision of municipal resources, poverty and education, the division is clear.
Just last month, after a petition brought by ACRI, the High Court of Justice demanded the state deal with an issue where tens of thousands of residents of Jerusalem neighbourhoods beyond the separation barrier were left without running water for weeks.
In 2013, ACRI released a set of statistics ahead of Yom Yerushalayim, including:
- Almost 80% of Palestinians in East Jerusalem live in poverty, including 85% of all children.
- Only 46% of students study in classrooms provided by the municipality. Even though the High Court of Justice has instructed the authorities to build more schools, East Jerusalem’s education system still faces a chronic shortage of more than 1000 classrooms.
- Across all ages, the dropout rate from schools in East Jerusalem is 13%, compared to just 1% in West Jerusalem, due to the entrenched poverty most families face, and inadequate facilities.
- In West Jerusalem, state-run 25 mother-and-baby medical centres exist, compared to only 4 in East Jerusalem.
- There is a shortage of some 50 kilometres of sewage pipes; repeated flooding of these systems causes serious health hazards and there are ongoing difficulties connecting residents to the urban water system.
- There are only 9 Post Offices in East Jerusalem compared with 42 in West Jerusalem; delivery of mail is infrequent and irregular.
About the documentary: “3 Houses” is a documentary about three Palestinian families who live Jerusalem, but beyond the separation barrier. They are residents of Jerusalem and pay their taxes, but receive minimal municipal services, and are not allowed to engage in residential construction. See their stark reality as they are forced to struggle for a home.
- ACRI's 2014 petition in support of East Jerusalem residents who lost their water connection
- "Permanent Residency - A temporary status set in stone" - a report from NIF grantee Ir Amim
- State-Funded Private Guards for Exclusive Security of Jewish East Jerusalem settlements
- Jerusalem Begins Demolition Proceedings Against Hundreds of East Jerusalem Homes
- Report – Failing East Jerusalem Education System
- East Jerusalem by the numbers (ACRI)
- ACRI's 2014 Successes in East Jerusalem
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