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[Published: Wednesday June 12 2019]

Israel  to entrench annexation of East Jerusalem

BRUSSELS  12 Jun (ANA)  - Israel may excise Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem concerned that Jerusalem will soon have a non-Jewish majority, a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG) has said.
If current demographic trends continue, Jerusalem could become a minority-Jewish city as early as 2045, according to a report by the Jerusalem and Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG).
And to stop this trend Israel may excise Palestinian neighbourhoods located east of its separation barrier, entrenching its de facto annexation of most of occupied East Jerusalem, according to the report.
Palestinian-populated areas that are part of the Jerusalem municipality, but beyond the barrier (Kafr Aqab, Shuafat refugee camp/Anata, al-Sawahra and al-Walaja) may be removed and placed in separate Israeli administrative units outside of Jerusalem's jurisdiction after a new coalition government forms following the Knesset election on September 17.
For Palestinian inhabitants, the excision would put at risk their status as Israeli residents. They - like Palestinians in the rest of the occupied West Bank would be required to obtain permits to enter East Jerusalem or Israel.
Despite all the extensive construction for Israeli Jews in both West and East Jerusalem and "severe impediments" imposed on the growth of Palestinian neighbourhoods, the Jewish-majority population has continued to shrink over the decades.
In 1967, the population ratio of Israeli Jews to Palestinians in Jerusalem stood at 74:26. In 2016, this ratio for Israeli Jews declined to 62:38, ICG wrote.
Israel's neglect of East Jerusalem has failed to push Palestinian inhabitants - forced to pay municipal taxes, yet receive almost no municipal services - to leave.
A number of Israeli leaders across the political spectrum have advocated for excising Palestinian-inhabited areas of occupied East Jerusalem.
Commenting on the Palestinian population growth, Jerusalem affairs minister and candidate in the 2018 mayoral race, Ze'ev Elkin warned Jerusalemites that by 2023 municipal elections, the city may no longer have a Jewish majority.
According to Jerusalem expert Nadav Shragai, excision would turn the demographic ratio to 69 percent for Jewish Israelis and a 31 percent Palestinian population.
However, excising these areas could set a dangerous precedent, offering a model for how Israel could annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, ICG wrote.(ANA)
FA/ANA/12 June 2019------

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