From Ala Al Qassem, forcibly separated from her husband and unable to visit him in Ramallah for fear of losing her home to settlers, to teenager Yehiya Derbas, maimed by Israeli bullets, they are Israel’s quiet victims. They might not face the constant threat of air strikes – like those trapped in Gaza – but violence takes many forms. What they face is a systematic Israeli campaign to eradicate the Arab identity of East Jerusalem, the capital of any future Palestinian state.
Israel seized the eastern part of Jerusalem in 1967 from Jordan, and illegally annexed it in 1981. Although Palestinians account for a third of Jerusalem’s population, they are treated as second-class citizens, with residency that is easily – and often – revoked. A towering wall constructed three years ago that cut some 140,000 Palestinians off from the rest of the city is part of a strategy to rid East Jerusalem of Palestinians and replace them with Israeli settlers.
Here's The National's special report on the hardships of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli attempts to remove Arab identity.