Jerusalem 1967-2020: The Truth About Annexation

In June of 1967, Israel conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank (in addition to the Golan Heights, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip). Later that month, Israel unilaterally – and in contravention of international law – in practice annexed the seven square kilometers of East Jerusalem, and over 60 square kilometers of the West Bank that surrounds it. These areas were incorporated together into one unit named ‘East Jerusalem,’ subject to the Jerusalem municipality and to Israeli law. Since 1967 until the present, this is the only area of the West Bank that has actually been annexed to the State of Israel. Therefore, in order to understand the consequences of annexation on both Israelis and Palestinians, it is pertinent to learn from the case of East Jerusalem:

  1. In 1967, Israel annexed all of East Jerusalem but did not fully annex its residents. The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who currently constitute approximately one- third of Jerusalem’s population, were not offered to join the Israeli political entity; rather they were only granted the status of “permanent resident” – a status significantly lesser than that of citizen and one that is also subject to revocation. As a result of annexation, the Palestinians – many of whom were multi-generation Jerusalemites – suddenly became stateless residents lacking political rights, sentenced to constant uncertainty and impermanence.1 Permanent residents are not eligible to vote nor can they run as candidates in Knesset elections. Palestinians in East Jerusalem may not freely organize nor engage with their political leadership, physically and socially develop their communities, nor choose where they live without taking the risk of having their residency statu

So, what will happen if Israel annexes more areas of the West Bank? The architects of the annexation initiative have already made it clear that Palestinians living in the areas


1 See Ir Amim’s report: “Permanent Residency: A Temporary Status Set in Stone
expected to be annexed under the Trump Plan will not even be entitled to the residency status that East Jerusalem residents received in 1967. One can call this  arrangement by various names, but the conclusion is unavoidable: with every area annexed comes  a regime built upon formal discriminatory differentiation of civil statuses.


2.                                     Since 1967, Israel has pursued various strategies to drive Palestinian residents to leave the city:
  • Over the course of the 52 years since annexation, approximately 15,000 Palestinian residents have lost their residency status and consequently denied the right to live in their city and near their
  • The Separation Barrier that was built in the first decade following the turn of the century physically disconnected eight East Jerusalem neighborhoods from Jerusalem itself. Approximately one-third of the residents of East Jerusalem (about 120,000 people) live in these neighborhoods and suffer from severe municipal neglect, including lack of basic services and essential infrastructure. Furthermore, these residents are forced to pass through checkpoints every day in order to enter their own 2
The Trump Plan purports a long desired Israeli policy that these neighborhoods will be decisively and formally cut off from Jerusalem.3
By its very nature, a system of separation and annexation regards the other side – that is, Palestinians – as a looming, existential, demographic threat and is constantly undertaking ever-increasing enterprises to drive them out of annexed land.
2 See Ir Amim’s Report: “Displaced in their Own City: The Impact of Israeli Policy in East Jerusalem on the Palestinian Neighborhoods of the City Beyond the Separation Barrier
3 See Ir Amim’s Report: “Ramifications of the US Middle East Plan on the Future of Jerusalem”