THE SEPARATION WALL IN JERUSALEM: ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES
The Alternative Information Center’s report "The Separation Wall In East Jerusalem: Economic Consequences" provides a detailed and critical economic analysis of the damages and effects of the Separation Wall in East Jerusalem, the first report to do so. This information is especially relevant given the United Nations establishment of the Registry of Damage for Palestinians negatively impacted by the Wall, thus preparing the case for demanding monetary compensation from Israel.
Beyond the issue of compensation, the political, demographic and geographic changes wrought by the Wall further enhance the current trend which makes a two-state solution increasingly difficult to implement.
Considered to be a holy place by an immense number of people from three different religions, the city of Jerusalem has always held great
significance for the politics of the Middle East in general and all the more so for the politics of Israel-Palestine. In a policy aimed at
maintaining the Jewish majority of the city’s population, Israel has systematically discriminated against Jerusalem’s Palestinian population. This, however, did not prevent Jerusalem from becoming one of the most important points of connection that bridged the Israeli economy with that of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, exactly because of Jerusalem's multi-ethnic reality.
The Separation Wall is changing this.
In 2002 the Wall's construction in the Jerusalem area began. While the wall has severe consequences over the livelihood and wellbeing of the entire Palestinian population throughout the West Bank, in Jerusalem the Separation Wall has the most stark and wide-spread effect. 92% (141,974 acres) of the lands confiscated for construction of the Wall are in the Jerusalem area. Jerusalem is the only region in which the Wall cuts through dense urban districts, separating many not only from their work place but also from services and needs such as local medical centers or schools (as well as from their friends and families). The earnings of Palestinian workers who work within the borders of the Green Line are a very important income for the Palestinian economy. The Wall will therefore disconnect whole communities from what used to be the hub of their economic activity and may disrupt the entire Palestinian economy by constricting this flow of income. Even with the Wall not yet
complete, 95% of Palestinians from the areas "outside" of it and 77% of the areas "inside" the Wall (relative to Jerusalem) report that they
have difficulties getting to their work place.
The Wall has already caused more than one billion dollars in damages resulting from direct income loss for these people, and it is estimated
that it will keep causing a further damage of 194$ million per year.
The Separation Wall further disconnects the main travel routes between Bethlehem and Ramallah, creating an artificial separation between the
North and the South of the West Bank. The Wall thus cuts vital connections between the economy of these cities and the Jerusalem economy.