Netanyahu considers canceling residency of 80,000 East Jerusalem Arabs

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently raised the possibility of canceling the residency status of the 80,000 Arabs living in East Jerusalem neighborhoods on the other side of the separation wall. Shuafat refugee camp and Kafr Aqab would be among the affected neighborhoods.

Netanyahu brought up the need to address the situation in East Jerusalem’s neighborhoods beyond the wall during a cabinet meeting that took place two weeks ago.

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“There is no enforcement there, no law,” Netanyahu said. “We need to examine the possibility of canceling their residency. There needs to be a discussion about it.”

The prime minister also raised the need to examine how law enforcement and security can be improved in these neighborhoods through the deployment of extra police and army units.

The neighborhoods in question are within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries but lie outside the wall and are considered extremely problematic from a security perspective.

However, since there has been no further discussion of the issue it is not yet certain whether this is a serious plan.

Netanyahu’s proposal drew responses from a number of ministers, who were surprised to hear him talk of disengagement.

Jerusalem Police erected a concrete wall along a street between the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Armon Hanatziv and Jabal Mukaber in the east of the city last week. The move was billed as an attempt to put a stop to frequent stone-throwing and throwing of Molotov cocktails at homes in the area.

At the time, the Jerusalem municipality clarified that the wall was a temporary measure aimed at reducing injuries and damage to property in stone-throwing incidents.